A sand box for low energy building tech


Updated: For most people, the images below look like just another building on the UC Berkeley campus. But for tech firms, construction companies, architects and utilities that are interested in low energy building design, Building 90, and its accompanying structures, look like a little slice of heaven.

The planned building, which will go under construction in the Spring of 2012 with a $15.9 million grant from the stimulus program, is a comprehensive test bed for low energy building tech, like electrochromic windows, smart lighting systems or connected efficient HVAC systems. In conjunction with the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, researchers and partners can test out building technology in real world conditions at the site, and with the ability to control the settings and study the results.

The building design includes a series of small (dorm-sized) test beds (bottom image) that can change their conditions, like rotate to face or turn away from the sun, roofs and floors that can be raised and lowered, and walls that can fold down to create partly outdoor facilities. Each test bed has one room that is the control room and one room that is the test room, so technologies can be compared against the standard.

Note to interested startups: Steve Selkowitz, head of the Building Technologies Department and lead scientist on the project, says in a release: “We’re looking for public and private partners to collaborate with us on groundbreaking new research.”

Update: The building will be located in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus.

You're subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

Comments have been disabled for this post