The Building Component Energy Test Laboratory (LECE) is another of the facilities at the PSA. This laboratory is part of the Energy Efficiency in Building R&D Unit of CIEMAT’s Renewable Energies Division and is managed directly by it. It is a member of the PASLINK EEIG, a network of European laboratories with similar characteristics, which is of economic interest. The laboratory consists of four fully instrumented test cells for testing conventional and passive solar building components and, furthermore, makes use of the excellent infrastructure at the PSA for solar applications.

The purpose of the LECE is to contribute to the knowledge on the energy quality of building elements through experiments determining the thermal properties of closures, such as the global heat transfer coefficient, the solar gain factor or system response times. It also performs other types of tests among which are important because of the climatic conditions in Spain, with regard to ventilation phenomena. The knowledge of those properties can be used to improve building design for increased energy savings without loss of comfort and predicting their thermal behaviour.

LECE activities may be classified as:

  • Experimental support for preparation of standards and regulations.
  • Experiments in the CIEMAT Energy Efficiency in Building R&D Unit’s research projects.
  • Collaboration with and services for building materials and component manufacturers.

Views of the LECE: Cells, reference buildings and solar chimney

The Test Cell

The LECE performs thermal characterisation testing for the active and passive solar building shell components.

The LECE has four real-scale test cells equipped with conditioning and instrumentation systems for testing construction components under real weather conditions. The test cell consists of a real-size test room. The walls impede any exchange of energy between the test room and outside. One of the original closures can be replaced by the closure to be tested. Once installed, energy exchange is possible only through this closure, which allows it to be characterized.

Testing and research of different types of building components are currently underway in close contact with businesses in the sector, and empirical test procedures for different types of components are being improved. These studies are directed at finding empirical models and development, improvement and optimization of test procedures for the different components. Stationary and dynamic data analysis methods based on system identification techniques are applied to do this. Validation testing of simulation models found from design point and geometry is also possible.

LECE Test Cell

Experimental Analysis of Natural HVAC Techniques

The Analysis of Natural HVAC Techniques concentrates on the study of the phenomena applied to Natural Heating and Cooling of buildings and on developing characterization methodologies. For maximum energy savings from installing these systems in buildings, improvements in them must be optimised and quantified using these techniques for which their detailed modelling is very useful. This can be done using a real-scale construction and testing the systems in the LECE. Testing of such systems as solar chimneys, passive radiating cooling systems, cooling sink systems, etc.

Among these systems is a real-size prototype solar chimney, built in 2003 and monitored since its construction under real weather conditions. This makes it possible to carry out empirical modelling experiments as well as validate theoretical models. These experimental studies can contribute to improving modelling of these systems and also be sued to optimize their implementation in buildings as a passive cooling strategy. Several different studies have been done on this system which have produced various publications and Ph.D. theses.

LECE Solar Chimney

Monozone Building

The monozone building used as the LECE office and workshop was built in 2002. It has an area of 31,1.83 m2 and a height of 3,3.65 m and is built in an area free of other buildings or obstacles around it that could shade it except for twin building located 2 m from its east wall. This building has been monitored since its construction.

Its Simplicity facilitates detailed, exhaustive monitoring and setting specific air conditioning sequences that simplify its analysis, for in-depth development and improving methodologies for experimental building energy evaluation. Several different studies have been carried out on this building that have led to publications and a Ph.D. thesis.

LECE Monozone Building


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