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Building Technologies Program. FLEXLAB Background. LBNL responded to a 2009 RFP for ARRA funds to develop a facility that: Develops new test methods and solutions for low energy buildings including high efficiency, integrated building systems under realistic operating conditions Focuses on:

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Flexlab background
FLEXLAB Background

  • LBNL responded to a 2009 RFP for ARRA funds to develop a facility that:

    • Develops new test methods and solutions for low energy buildings includinghigh efficiency, integrated building systems under realistic operating conditions

    • Focuses on:

      • Comprehensive whole building systems integration

      • Specific end use integration and component interactions (e.g., HVAC, lighting, windows, envelope, plug loads control systems)

      • Controls hardware and sensors

      • Simulation and tools for design through operations

  • FLEXLAB developed with input from 35 industry partners

  • Commercial buildings focus - retrofit and new construction

Doe goals 50 savings at affordable cost

Current Design and Research Paradigm – Silo Approach

Single component or isolated system EEM

5-20% Energy Savings for the isolated component or system

DOE Goals: 50%+ Savings at Affordable Cost

Integrated Building Systems Approach

Multi-system integrated EEMs

30-50%+ Whole Building Energy Savings

CA Goals: All Buildings Net Zero Energy By 2030

What is flexlab
What is FLEXLAB?

  • Exterior Testbeds

    • Integrated Systems and Components

    • April 2014

  • Lighting & Plug Load Testbed

    • Controls, Visual Comfort & Behavior

    • Completed

  • Virtual Design/Visualization

    • Virtual Integrated Design & Visualization of Experiments

    • Completed

“To transform commercial building industry practice from a component-based focus to integrated systems in design and operations, achieving cost-effective, aggressive net-zero energy goals in new and existing buildings.”

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Flexlab capabilities exterior testbeds
FLEXLAB Capabilities – Exterior Testbeds

  • Comparative testing

  • Controlled environment

    • Capabilities to simulate other climates

    • Controlled internal loads

      • Well instrumented and metered facility

        • High granularity of power measurement

        • High accuracy sensors – temperature, pressure, air and water flow, heat flux, etc.

      • Highly flexible testbeds – interior and exterior

        • HVAC, lighting, glazing, skylights, shading, etc.

      • Mockup new construction and retrofit conditions

        • First fit outs represent 1980s, current code and net zero

    • Provides access to multiple flexible systems

      • Many manufacturers don’t have testing facilities to integrate controls with other systems

  • Customized controls platform – allows for complete interoperability of controls and communications

General flexlab research potentials
General FLEXLAB Research Potentials

  • Potential Projects:

    • Technology development, optimization and validation (energy savings)

  • Integrated systems and controls - development, optimization and validation (energy savings), e.g.:

    • Lighting/daylighting controls with automated shading;

    • HVAC controls with automated façade, operable shades, operable windows

  • Validation of simulation tool algorithms

  • Develop and validate design and operational tools – e.g. Cx, M&V and auditing tools

  • Development of systems level test methods

  • Accurate baseline development for systems

  • Virtual testing -> testing in facility

  • Flexlab rdd d chain

    • FLEXLAB provides proof of concept, reduces risk for early adopters

    • With partners lined up and technologies demonstrated, FLEXLAB accelerates the deployment curve

    Concept Theory

    Lab Scale Testbeds

    Early Adopters

    Real Buildings

    Scalable Deployment


    Deployment Partners


    R&D Program

    Building Owners



    State, Local


    Commercialization Centers, VCs &



    Engineers Contractors


    • Industry Partnership Program

    Building technologies program