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BubbleZERO—Design, Construction and Operation of a Transportable Research Laboratory for Low Exergy Building System Evaluation in the Tropics
Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre, Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich, Zurich 8093, Switzerland
Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zürich, Zurich 8093, Switzerland
School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117566, Singapore
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2013; in revised form: 27 August 2013 / Accepted: 28 August 2013 / Published: 2 September 2013
Abstract: We present the design, construction and operation of a novel building systems laboratory, the BubbleZERO—Zero Emission Research Operation. Our objective was to design a space to evaluate the performance of Swiss-developed low exergy building systems in the tropical climate of Singapore using an integrated design approach. The method we employed for evaluation in the tropics was to design and build a test bed out of the shipping containers that transported the prototype low exergy systems from Switzerland to Singapore. This approach resulted in a novel laboratory environment containing radiant cooling panels and decentralized air supply, along with a self-shading, inflated “bubble” skin, experimental low emissivity (LowE) glazing, LED lighting, wireless sensors and distributed control. The laboratory evaluates and demonstrates for the first time in Singapore an integrated high-temperature cooling system with separate demand-controlled ventilation adapted for the tropics. It is a functional lab testing system in real tropical conditions. As such, the results showing the ability to mitigate the risk of condensation by maintaining a dew point below 18 °C by the separate decentralized ventilation are significant and necessary for potential future implementation in buildings. In addition, the control system provides new proof of concept for distributed wireless sensors and control for reliable automation of the systems. These key results are presented along with the integrated design process and real-life tropical operation of the laboratory.
Keywords: energy efficiency; exergy; tropical climate; laboratory; prototype; distributed systems; radiant cooling; buildings; zero emission
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Bruelisauer, M.; Chen, K.W.; Iyengar, R.; Leibundgut, H.; Li, C.; Li, M.; Mast, M.; Meggers, F.; Miller, C.; Rossi, D.; Saber, E.M.; Tham, K.W.; Schlueter, A. BubbleZERO—Design, Construction and Operation of a Transportable Research Laboratory for Low Exergy Building System Evaluation in the Tropics. Energies 2013, 6, 4551-4571.
Bruelisauer M, Chen KW, Iyengar R, Leibundgut H, Li C, Li M, Mast M, Meggers F, Miller C, Rossi D, Saber EM, Tham KW, Schlueter A. BubbleZERO—Design, Construction and Operation of a Transportable Research Laboratory for Low Exergy Building System Evaluation in the Tropics. Energies. 2013; 6(9):4551-4571.
Bruelisauer, Marcel; Chen, Kian W.; Iyengar, Rupesh; Leibundgut, Hansjürg; Li, Cheng; Li, Mo; Mast, Matthias; Meggers, Forrest; Miller, Clayton; Rossi, Dino; Saber, Esmail M.; Tham, Kwok W.; Schlueter, Arno. 2013. "BubbleZERO—Design, Construction and Operation of a Transportable Research Laboratory for Low Exergy Building System Evaluation in the Tropics." Energies 6, no. 9: 4551-4571.