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Development Of A Building Automation Laboratory

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.200.1 - 3.200.6

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William J. Hutzel

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1633

Development of a Building Automation Laboratory

William J. Hutzel Purdue University, West Lafayette


The Applied Energy Laboratory within the School of Technology at Purdue University is an instructional facility for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment. The equipment for indoor climate control includes a forced air system, a hydronic (water-based) system, heat pumps, and solar collectors. All components are linked to an environmental chamber so that the performance of each type of equipment can be evaluated. To keep pace with state of the art industry practice, new equipment and software for direct digital control (DDC) of various laboratory components was recently installed. The new equipment is particularly useful because it has a graphical user interface for easier component visualization by inexperienced technicians, namely undergraduate students.

Energy Conservation and Its Impact on Technical Careers

The annual energy consumption in the United States will reach a whopping 8.0 x 1016 Btu’s in 1997.1 To put this enormous quantity in perspective, momentarily assume that this energy came from a coal pile the size of a football field. The imaginary coal pile would be roughly 300 miles high from end zone to end zone! Energy for indoor climate control is a large factor, accounting for almost 40% of this staggering total. In terms of the football field example, the annual energy used for heating, cooling, lighting, and appliances is equivalent to a coal pile over 100 miles high. Although the availability of coal and other fossil fuels is gradually decreasing, U.S. energy consumption is steadily increasing.2 It is not surprising that new technologies for efficiently managing energy use, particularly energy used for indoor climate control, are becoming extremely important.

The growing importance of energy conservation is reflected by several new career opportunities for Technologists and Engineers. Maintenance engineering, which involves operating and maintaining mechanical equipment for climate control of modern commercial buildings, is becoming an important career option. The Office of Manpower Studies within the School of Technology at Purdue University currently projects that Maintenance Engineering will be one of the fastest growing technical careers over the next decade.3 Career opportunities with energy- based consulting firms have also become much more common. Energy consultants frequently perform facility-wide energy audits on schools, hospitals, and other large institutions to pinpoint opportunities for cost savings. Many renovation projects for new boilers, chillers, and other equipment are financed based on projected energy savings. Both maintenance engineers and energy consultants recognize the strong financial incentives for adopting new technologies that maximize a building’s energy efficiency.

Hutzel, W. J. (1998, June), Development Of A Building Automation Laboratory Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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