ICE Climatic Chamber

The primary research tool of ICE is its own well-insulated and air-tight climatic chamber of 25 m2 floor area (dimensions: 5.8m width x 4.3m length x 3.3m height overall/2.5m height occupied). It can modulate the indoor environment in a wide range: temperature 15-35oC, relative humidity 20-80% RH, lighting 50-700 lux, ventilation rate 0.5-15 ACH (30-1000 m3/h).

It has a unique flexibility in terms of air supply/exhaust options and radiant heating/cooling ceiling and floor surfaces that enable conducting novel research related to personalized thermal (dis)comfort at the human body level and smart occupant-centered controls.  It can be used to simulate a wide range of office types: a single person office, a shared office and a meeting room. 

 The chamber can be conditioned using two types of systems:

  • Air system: Air-handling unit provides fresh air acting as a convective cooling and heating system. The fresh outdoor air can be supplied unconditioned/conditioned from the floor or from the ceiling through 1-6 diffusers (number can vary); the air exhaust can either be from the same surface or from the opposite one.
  • Radiant heating and cooling system: both floor and ceiling are activated.  There are 12 independent hydronic loops (6 on the floor and 6 on the ceiling); each loop is comprised of 8 radiant panels/tiles. Either a single loop or the entire ceiling and floor, or both, can be activated in heating or cooling mode to accurately modulate the mean radiant temperature. Each tile can be further fine tined manually; thus, very specific localized conditioning can be created.

Monitoring: The temperature of all interior surfaces is monitored using 100+ T-type thermocouples attached to all surfaces. Water temperature and flow rate in each radiant panel is also monitored. From the air side, multiple flow and temperature sensors monitor air state at different stages of pre-conditioning. Energy metering both on the air- and water-side is available. 

Controls: the control system of the chamber is SIEMENS Desigo.  The indoor temperature is controlled using 6 zonal thermostats. Indoor temperature can be set as an average of all 6 sensors, or only one sensor can be prioritized. Via the BACnet protocol, we can connect an external ” in-house made” smart controller. In such a case, the smart controller can operate using a wide range of sensors including personalized ones (e.g., skin temperature, human activity, etc.).

Automation: the chamber can operate in a fully automated mode using pre-scheduled setpoints set via BACnet.

Location: Fribourg (Switzerland), at the Blue Factory site.