In summer 2014, FLEXLAB® opened for business as the world’s most advanced integrated building and grid technologies testbed, helping a range of organizations—including companies, utilities and government agencies—evaluate technologies for maximum energy efficiency.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab’s) pioneering history of energy efficiency research meets real-world testing conditions at FLEXLAB. In a landscape where the value of energy efficiency is increasingly clear, yet new building technologies pose uncertainties, the facility enables important insights on which actions will deliver energy savings for buildings while ensuring occupant comfort.
Recent projects have helped building operators validate decisions about lighting and shading systems, for example, and verify whether newer technologies are worth the investment. Users have included Genentech, Webcor, Xcel Energy and ComEd, as well as the California Energy Commission and U.S. Department of Energy.
“FLEXLAB is humming along with innovative projects designed to take the guesswork out of building and grid technologies,” said Cindy Regnier, executive director. “We're thrilled this facility is fulfilling the potential we envisioned to test these technologies in real-world settings.”
FLEXLAB is part of a testing ecosystem at Berkeley Lab that encompasses a network of testbeds, from lighting and appliances to whole-building systems. Users can precisely monitor and assess a variety of systems, from plug loads to envelopes and controls, in any combination.
“Our experience so far with FLEXLAB has led to even more robust capabilities. We’ve expanded to offer a scalable platform for researching a wide range of building-to-grid distributed energy resource technologies and controls,” said Mary Ann Piette, director of Berkeley Lab’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Division.
Those expanded capabilities include FLEXGRID, a system that enables real-time comparisons between demand, renewables, inverters and storage, a key way to build distributed energy resources for a reliable, smarter electric grid.
Interested in learning more about FLEXLAB?
Visit our website: flexlab.lbl.gov
Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.