Smart Building Test Laboratory

Set-up

  • The testing facility includes 2 identical 900 sq ft buildings.

  • Each building has adjustable interior configurations and envelope features based on research needs.

  • The fully reconfigurable interior layout is used for the testing of different occupancy scenarios, window systems in different orientations, and the performance of sensors in different configurations.

  • The reconfigurable exterior walls, windows, and insulation are used for the testing of new insulation materials, PCMs, different exterior wall and attic configurations, different window types, and window retrofits (electrochromic, thermochromic, films, shading devices).

  • The testing facility's buildings and systems mimic a typical building and are built to current energy code standards.

HVAC: 2 tons A/C, 70,000 BTU furnace

Appliances: water heater, washer/dryer, stove/oven, microwave compatible

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Facility's Capabilities

  • The facility is internet-connected to enable response to real or simulated grid signals via a Raspberry Pi-based controller.

  • Onsite weather monitoring collects local climate conditions used for building microclimate modeling and energy model validation.

  • Submetered energy use & remote monitoring for comparative energy use evaluation, energy efficiency evaluation, and building system performance.

  • The facility has Indoor Environmental Monitoring full suite of sensors for indoor and outdoor data collection (lighting, temperature, humidity, noise, CO2, occupancy) to evaluate thermal comfort, visual comfort, indoor environmental quality, etc.

  • The testing facility is capable of remote and fully automated monitoring of load generation to mimic typical building internal loads such as people or appliances. There are also HVAC controls for testing performance under “typical” scenarios without people actually in the buildings.


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Testing

  • Building diagnostics testing is being done in this facility on building infiltration rates, looking at findings such as where leaks are located and how much leakage occurs in the ducts.

  • Building diagnostics tests are also completed in the Smart Building Test Lab to look at fault detection of HVAC systems through continuous monitoring for faults or inefficiencies.

  • Thermal imaging tests are used to discover conductive heat losses and identify missing insulation.


Current Research

  • Simulation, Challenge Testing & Validation of Occupancy Recognition and CO2 Technologies

  • Adaptive, Multi-Layered Fenestration Elements for Optimum Building Energy Performance and Occupant Comfort