FlexLab Permits Mixing, Matching, Testing of Building Components

A unique research and demonstration facility to develop and fine-tune new building technologies is being constructed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory near the University of California Berkeley campus. The Facility for Low Energy Experiments in Buildings (FLEXLAB) will consist of four new outdoor test modules, as well as several testbeds within an existing building.

FLEXLAB will allow users to conduct focused research or product development on single components or whole-building systems integration. FLEXLAB will allow experimenters to replace any building system such as exterior building envelope, windows and shading systems, lights, HVAC, energy control systems, roofs and skylights, or interior components such as furniture, partitions, and raised floors.

The modules also will generate unbiased performance data.

FLEXLAB will be operated by Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, which is seeking industry partners for the first experiments after launch in 2013.

While construction of the new outdoor facilities gets underway, another part of FLEXLAB is completing construction: the lighting and plug load testbed, and a virtual design lab. The lighting and plug loads testbed will be densely instrumented and minutely controlled, with every power outlet and every light fixture in the office cubicles individually monitored.

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