This multi-room laboratory's purpose is to test the performance and properties of advanced windows and window systems such as electrochromic windows and automatically controlled shutters and blinds. The lab simulates real-world office spaces. Embedded instrumentation throughout the lab records solar gains and losses for specified time periods, weather conditions, energy use and human comfort indicators.
Electrochromic glazings promise to be a major advance in energy-efficient window technology, helping to achieve the goal of transforming windows and skylights from an energy liability in buildings to an energy source. The glazing can be reversibly switched from a clear to a transparent, colored state with a small applied voltage, resulting in dynamically controllable thermal and optical properties.
Automatic mechanical shading systems are on the market now. Better knowledge about their performance and how to control them for optimum building energy efficiency and human comfort could help expand their use in buildings. The Advanced Windows Test Facility is active in testing these and other window and daylighting technology options.