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Testing Efficient Lighting and Building Control Solutions at Berkeley Lab: The First FLEXLAB Module Takes Shape

Now under construction at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a unique research and demonstration facility that will help industry develop, and fine-tune new building technologies. The facility will also generate accurate, unbiased performance data. 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. It will be operated by the Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, which is seeking industry partners for cooperative research. [Read more about it here.]


In FLEXLAB, Berkeley Lab and its partners will conduct research and product development on single components or whole-building systems integration. They’ll be able 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.


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.



Unmatched control of lighting and plug loads


The lighting and plug loads testbed will have the most densely instrumented and minutely controlled building space anywhere in the United States—a stretch of building so finely regulated that every power outlet is individually monitored and can be turned on or off, every light fixture in the office cubicles is individually metered and controlled. “This is more advanced than any other facility in the buildings industry,” says Steven Lanzisera, one of the researchers on the testbed’s design team.

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