Building Comfort Systems Lab Design

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Building Comfort Systems Lab Summary

Goals of Lab

  • Find the truth about how building comfort systems are operating and using energy.
  • Confirm operation of systems in all modes and seasons.
  • Optimize system operations.
  • Continuously monitor and improve our system operations.

Decisions to be made from Lab

  • Decide if system operation points (set points) need to be changed.
  • Decide if additional repairs or improvements of systems, equipment, or devices are required or would be beneficial.

Expected Outcomes

  • Determine if systems are meeting the design criteria, finding the truth about them.
  • Confirm if strategies used would be recommended to others.
  • Make systems as energy efficient as possible while still maintaining comfort.



  • Data Collection - Interval TBD (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual?)
    • Automated - Through DDC, data loggers, power meters with trending
    • Manual - Handheld meters
  • Analysis of Data/Trending - Interval TBD (monthly, quarterly, annual?)
    • Automated - Trends through DDC, data loggers
    • Manual - Excel, Universal Translator
  • Occupant Feedback - Interval TBD (daily at first, then weekly summary?)
    • Comfort Survey - numerical so can be trended with comments section also
  • Continuous Improvement - Weekly adjustments / TBD energy reviews & continous commissioning/re-commissioning
    • Friday session to review previous week and set up for weekend/next week - All (on site and remote)
    • Previous week general comfort and energy usage feedback review
    • Weather forecast and occupancy schedule for next 7 days
    • Recommended system optimizations to implement, if any

Elements of Lab

  • Heating comfort & energy
  • Cooling comfort & energy
  • Dehumidification & ventilation comfort & energy
  • Domestic hot water availability/usage & energy
  • Lighting comfort & energy

Process Measurements

  • Developed for each experiment.
  • Use DDC system, handheld instrumentation, data loggers.

Participants & Time Frames

  • Operation - Daily Occupied / Event Special Occupied / Nightly Unoccupied / Weekend / Holiday / Emergency Shutdown (e.g. snow day)
    • Daily On Site - Kirsten, Intern, Tom
    • Daily Off Site - Laurie, Intern, Tom

General Questions

  • See detail below for specific questions related to the individual labs.*

Building Comfort Systems Labs Detail

Heating System Lab

  • Goals of Lab
    • Study solar thermal, mass storage, radiant floor systems, Altherma.

Cooling System Lab

  • Goals of Lab
    • Study Altherma, mass storage, radiant floor systems.

Dehumidification & Ventilation System Lab

  • Goals of Lab
    • Study of ERV, booster fan & distribution, Altherma, duct mounted coil.

Natural Ventilation Guidelines

Domestic Hot Water System Lab

  • Goals of Lab
    • Study of Altherma.

Lighting System Lab

  • Goals of Lab
    • Study of Solatubes, lighting, emergency lighting, inverter backup.