Innovative National Lab to Test Building Systems

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Maximum Energy Efficiency Lab (MAXLAB), Oak Ridge, TN

We provided complete architectural and engineering services for an Oak Ridge project consisting of three structures: MAXLAB, a new research facility for the controlled study of building envelopes and HVAC systems; and two flexible research platforms (FRPs) for testing full-scale building enclosures and systems under natural exposure.

MAXLAB contains two research spaces. One, the multifunctional envelope laboratory, contains high-bay space for construction and testing of envelope assemblies in a clamshell-type apparatus to characterize capture of thermal and solar energy, air, and moisture. The other, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning laboratory, contains two low-bay environmental chambers for systems testing. MAXLAB also includes a shared control room and workshop joining the two labs; a data center to store data from the labs and FRPs; and office and conference space. To make MAXLAB eligible for LEED Gold certification, sustainable design strategies include a high-efficiency envelope, interior daylighting, energy-efficient LED lighting, a solar water-heating system, a solar photovoltaic array, and mixed-mode (natural and mechanical) ventilation.