From the Lab to the Marketplace (1995)
User Facilities and Research Laboratories
LBNL's energy-efficient buildings programs operate several user facilities and research laboratories, some of which are available by arrangement to building industry professionals, architects, manufacturers, the academic community, and other national laboratories.
The Energy-Efficient Fixtures Laboratory is dedicated to the development of optically and thermally efficient long-tube and compact fluorescent fixture systems. Testing devices characterize the thermal and photometric performance of fixtures and advanced compact fluorescent prototypes, and include temperature-controlled photometric integrating chambers and experimental plenum systems for studying the performance of recessed downlights using compact fluorescent lamps.
The Integrating Sphere is used for relative photometry of light sources. The total lumen output of any source can be measured under standard thermal and electrical conditions. The sphere is used extensively by the LBNL's Lighting Systems Group to measure the efficacy and lumen output of a broad range of light sources.
The Infrared Thermographic Lab includes a high-resolution, infrared imaging camera, a computer processor/printer, and a cold/hot chamber to hold samples for testing. The camera system is portable and can measure surface temperatures that can be correlated to various heat loss or gain parameters. The IR camera is useful for assessing heat loss from existing buildings in the field as well as from building components and appliances in the laboratory.
The Mobile Window Thermal Test Facility (MoWiTT) contains two highly instrumented, side-by-side calorimetric test chambers that are used to test the thermal performance of window and wall elements under actual outdoor conditions. The facility may be rotated to face in any direction and is currently located in Reno, Nevada, which experiences both summer and winter extreme climate conditions. The facility can directly measure solar heat gain and can determine window and shading system properties for a wide variety of solar control options. With 200 data channels collecting data every few seconds, MoWiTT can directly measure cooling load shapes on peak summer days with excellent time resolution. The facility can also be used to validate computer models and to compare various technologies in real time. Industry has used MoWiTT results to justify new product development.
The Radon Test House, located in Richmond, California, is used for studies of the transport and behavior of radon progeny and indoor aerosols.
The Environmental Chamber can be conditioned to maintain desired temperature, humidity levels, and ventilation rates. The facility is used by LBNL researchers and collaborators for a variety of indoor air pollution studies such as assessing emissions from consumer products and building materials.
The Sky Simulator is a 24-foot-diameter hemispherical facility used to test daylighting performance in scale-model buildings under controlled and reproducible conditions. Computerized control of light sources within the hemisphere can create luminous distributions typical of clear, uniform, or overcast skies representative of any desired location, orientation, climate, and season on Earth. It can also be used as a sun simulator to test shading strategies in scale models up to 1.5 square meters in size. Light levels within the models are measured by 60 photosensors, and the measurements are used to predict daylight illuminance conditions in full-sized buildings. The facility is well-suited to test the effect of shading from overhangs, fins, awnings, shade systems, vegetation, and adjacent obstructions.
The Solar Heat Gain Scanner is used to characterize the complex optical properties of shading systems such as venetian blinds. The system measures transmitted and reflected energy and light at all incidence and outgoing angles. The only facility of its kind in the U.S., it has become the basis for a new procedure to predict solar heat gain through shading systems. This work is cost-shared by DOE and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
The Thin-Film Materials Laboratory houses a wide range of apparatus to deposit and analyze thin-film, spectrally selective coatings for energy control purposes. The laboratory also includes pectrophotometers to measure solar, near IR, and far IR properties.
The Geographic Information System (GIS)/Image Processing Laboratory has image processing software operating on a SUN SPARC workstation that runs image processing and vector- based and raster-based GIS software. A PC-based GIS system is also available.
The Hypermedia Laboratory is used to develop design tools of the future that will not only have faster and better modeling algorithms but will also have vastly improved user interfaces incorporating new multimedia software and hardware capabilities. The ability to integrate data and text with advanced graphics, animation, sound, and video will enhance the value and usefulness of the next generation of design and analysis tools. The hypermedia computer lab has the equipment necessary for experimenting with these emerging technologies and prototyping and testing promising solutions. The laboratory has been used to develop several prototypes including an interactive computerized kiosk with videodisk for Southern California Edison.