News and Events
20 years accredited testing laboratory for building service equipment
The testing laboratory for building service equipment has successfully reaccredited according to the norm ISO/IEC 17025. On November 23th 2017 clients, friends and employees were invited to celebrate this anniversary. It was a great event with short talks about the past, present and future, accompanied by two violinists from Lucerne School of Music.
What we offer
In addition to testing in the accredited laboratory on-site measurements can also be carried out. Other services offered by the laboratory include support in product development, continuing and executive education, surveys and expert reports.
The laboratory is accredited according to the International standard ISO/IEC 17025 (STS 0179).
The laboratory particularly specializes in the testing of air handling units with passive heat recovery or heat pumps, as well as heat recovery devices according to European standard EN 308 or the standards set out by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) on heat exchangers up to 7,000 m³/h.
The Building Technology Laboratory also offers other services on their own test rigs in addition to component and device measurements. For example, specialists also carry out performance reviews and measurements on thermal comfort, the draught rate and indoor air quality on site, and also monitor pilot projects and demonstration projects. They process orders from applied research and support industrial partners in development projects. The team also draws up surveys and expert reports, often using field and laboratory measurements for this purpose.
Infrastructure and Range of Services
Testing of air-to-air heat exchangers
Since their initial accreditation in 1997, the Building Technology Laboratory has played an active role in measuring and testing heat recovery devices. An internationally approved test rig is used for this purpose. This is designed for measuring heat exchangers of up to 7,000 m³/h according to European standard EN 308, the standards set out by the (ASHRAE), and air handling units according to the European standard EN 13053.
In the laboratory, measurements are made of heat recovery devices for the European
Eurovent certification and the American Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute AHRI.
Testing components and devices
Recuperative and regenerative heat exchangers (such as rotary heat exchangers and plate heat exchangers) between 40 and 7,000 m³
run-around coil systems and heat pipes
Measurements on residential Ventilation Units
One of the core skills of the Building Technology Laboratory is carrying out testing on residential ventilation units. For almost ten years now, the laboratory has tested the performance of ventilation units.
The corresponding test rig was constructed as part of the «Rational Use of Energy in Buildings” research program from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. The main goal of the project was to offer full technical testing of residential ventilation units with heat recovery and heat pumps at reasonable costs, and thus to make a contribution towards ensuring and further improving the performance quality of the units. The test rig has been designed for units of 40 to 1,200 m
3/h. Large-scale units of up to 7,000 m 3/h are tested on the test rig for air-to-air heat recovery devices. Tests are performed according to the European standards EN 13141-7 and EN 13141-8, among others.
Customers include manufacturers from across Europe. Among others, the tests are used to obtain the energy label for residential ventilation units (RVU) according to EU regulations 1253/2014 and 1254/2014. The measurements are also used for the Swiss declaration of residential ventilation units at the association
energie-cluster.ch, for approval from the German Passive House Institute and for approval in Belgium.
However, the specialists also work on systems that are already in operation. This includes the detection of leaks in ventilation ducts or unbalanced ventilator settings that constantly lead to excessive energy consumption and noise emissions. For example, in the current «Energy Efficiency of Ventilation Systems» (EFFILUFT) project financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, the energy efficiency of a large number of medium-sized and large ventilation systems has been inspected.
Air handling units with supply and exhaust air
Recuperative and regenerative heat recovery systems
Exhaust-air heat pumps for the heating of supply air and/or water
Prof. Heinrich Huber
Assessment of Indoor air quality and thermal environment
The professionals at the Building Technology Laboratory test the thermal environment of all types of rooms directly on site. This is made quantitatively by testing the thermal comfort according to the international standards ISO 7730, EN 15251 and ASHRAE 55. The indoor air temperature and dew point are measured, as are the wet-bulb temperature, air velocity, radiant power in the room, operative temperature and the dry heat loss. Data is often recorded over a prolonged period lasting several weeks by installing the special measuring instruments on site and then analyzing the data back in the laboratory.
From the recorded data, the draft risk , turbulence level of the air, optimum operating temperature, Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) – a statistically founded statement on the thermal comfort of the user taking into account clothing and the degree of activity – and the Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied (PPD) are all assessed.
The laboratory also offers an additional service – namely the site identification of comfort in the rooms as experienced by the users. The Building Technology Laboratory has developed their own online questionnaire and evaluation method for this purpose. Measurements are made according to the Swiss and European standard SN EN 15251.
A climate chamber in the laboratory also allows in-depth examinations to be made in this area. In order to ensure the full scope of testing, the chamber is equipped with a floor and walls that can be heated or cooled individually. Individual window openings can be thermally represented and the humidity of the room can be adjusted as required. A wide range of ventilation scenarios are used for testing and visualizing the air flow in the room.
The professionals at the Building Technology Laboratory specialize in acoustic testing. They are supported in their work by a state-of-the-art infrastructure. The in-house acoustic test rig is comprised of two rooms – a reverberation chamber and an anechoic chamber. The two rooms are connected by an air duct with a ventilator and attenuators. In contrast to closed acoustic testing rooms, this also allows for acoustic testing to be made on ventilation systems and components using air flows, as the air – muffled accordingly – is able to circulate.
Components and devices are tested according to the European standard EN ISO 3741 in terms of noise emissions and insulation or flow noises. The test rig is suitable for frequencies of 100 Hz to 10,000 Hz and volumetric air flows of up to 2,000 m
Larger devices that cannot be transported into the acoustic chamber are tested using the sound intensity method according to the standard EN 9614-2. Moreover, measurements are also offered on site, such as those used to assess telephony through ventilation ducts.
What we offer
Flow noise measurements on dampers, diffusors, grilles, ventilators, air handling units, air passages etc.
Noise emission measurements on ventilators, trench heaters and ventilation units etc.
Insertion loss measurements on attenuators
Measurement of noise transmission and assessment of acoustic problems on site
Contact: Andreas Odermatt
MEasurement of air volume flows and pressure losses
Aerodynamic measurements are carried out on the air flow test rig, in particular tests on air volume flow but also measurements of pressure losses on various ventilation air conditioning components. At the heart of the process are reference flow rate meters, with which extremely precise volumetric air flow measurements are possible.
A large test rig covers measurements between 500 and approximately 32,000 m
/h. This test rig is designed according to the principle of a suction-side test chamber for ventilators as detailed in ISO 5801 and is equipped with additional heat exchangers and humidifiers. These also enable tests to be made at variable temperatures and humidities. A smaller test rig is used for tests between 0.4 and 1,000 m
/h and can be used with both positive and negative pressure.
What we offer / Measurement Examples
Ventilator measurements according to ISO 5801
Measurement of air flow and pressure loss on ventilation and air conditioning components
Testing of volumetric air flow meters
Prof. Heinrich Huber
trace gas measurements
A further specialty of the Building Technology Laboratory is precise trace gas measurements. This includes volumetric air flow and leakage measurements in tunnels, air exchange rate and air age measurements in rooms, leakage measurements in buildings and checking the effectiveness of extractor hoods.
This procedure is based on the controlled addition of a trace gas that can be easily detected and is not found in the natural surroundings of the analyzed air, then registering the concentration at the measuring point using a suitable measuring method. For example, this measurement can then be used to connect the trace gas concentration in a flow of air to the volumetric air flow.
What we offer / Measurement Examples
Ventilation effectiveness: Air exchange efficiency, air renewal and ventilation efficiency, eliminating pollutants
Air-mass flow, air exchange, air age and short circuits in ventilation systems
Leak tests and airtightness tests on ventilation units
Exhaust-air transmission on rotary heat exchangers
Analyzing the spread of pollutants or odorous substances and refrigerants
measurements on hydraulic components
Tests are made using water on the hydraulic test rig. In this way, pressure loss coefficients, valve characteristics and pump characteristics can be determined.
The Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW) requires manufacturers of sanitary components to specify the pressure losses on their components, which then have to be validated by an independent test laboratory. The building technology laboratory is on hand to carry out these measurements.
Contact: Frank Gubser
Performance assessments of components and devices
Thanks to the various different test rigs in the laboratory, the specialists are able to offer a wide range of additional measurements and testing procedures.
What we offer / Measurement Examples
Thermal measurements on components such as exhaust light fittings
Thermal output measurements on components such as trench heaters, cooling beams etc.
Thermal measurement and pressure losses on air-to-water heat exchangers and air heat exchangers
Inspection of controllers for cooled ceilings and floor heating
Measurement of humidifier and dehumidifier performance
Drying performance of tumble dryers
Visualization of flows in devices
Casings of air handling units: mechanical strength, air leakage, heat transfer coefficient/ thermal transmittance, thermal bridging factor and acoustic insulation according to EN 1886
Prof. Heinrich Huber
Inspections in the health and hygiene sectors
Beyond its accredited activities, the laboratory also specializes in clean room technology and indoor air quality applications.
It runs special test rooms for investigating the effectiveness of ventilation concepts for rooms in the healthcare sector (e.g. operating theaters, intensive care units or isolation units). Measurements are made here for the purpose of certification or the further development of devices, based on the Swiss standard SWKI VA 105-01, international standards and in-house testing specifications, among others.
Testing facilities and measuring equipment are also available for ensuring water quality in buildings, and can be adapted according to individual requirements.
As part of field tests, the hygienic conditions of the system are assessed on site and a relevant set of measures is drawn up.
Customers typically include manufacturers of devices, components and systems, planners of HVAC and sanitary systems, system operators, facility management companies and property owners.
Dr. Benoit Sicre
Field tests and operation optimizations
A wide range of measuring equipment can also be used outside the laboratory. The services range from recording temperature and humidity with mini data loggers right up to complex energy monitoring and comfort testing. Long-term measurements with many data points are recorded using both connected and state-of-the-art wireless solutions. The collection of data is made via a network with PLC solutions. Due to changes of value data is gathered using a process control system. It is thus possible to record several thousand data points at a sampling rate of up to 200 ms over a measurement period lasting over one year. Data can be remotely monitored, analyzed and saved at any time using a 3G mobile router.
Experienced research associates and lecturers analyze the systems on site. A significant potential for improvement is often identified on the pass. By means of the existing system documentation and the analysis of the measured data, conclusions can be made on any malfunctions and the potential for process optimization. Moreover, data can also be used for validating simulation models.
Thermal and cooling energy
Operating times and operating steps
Long-term measurements for the “Passenger ship Lake Lucerne” project by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation
“Replacement strategies for electric water heaters under consideration of the whole building heating infrastructure” project by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy