ORNL unveils new $20.5 million MAXLAB

ORNL unveils new $20.5 million MAXLAB

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The lab houses equipment that allows researchers to determine how well walls hold up to wind and water penetration. The lab houses equipment that allows researchers to determine how well walls hold up to wind and water penetration.
"Existing buildings were built long ago, and they are relatively inefficient. Much can be done to improve their efficiency," said Patrick Hughes. "Existing buildings were built long ago, and they are relatively inefficient. Much can be done to improve their efficiency," said Patrick Hughes.
The facility should advance technology in homes and commercial buildings. The facility should advance technology in homes and commercial buildings.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) -  The recently completed $20.5 million Maximum Building Energy Efficiency Research Laboratory (MAXLAB) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is aimed at making homes and other buildings better, and to save money at the same time.  

The 18,000-square foot lab was completed two months ago. Researchers will use this facility to test the efficiency and durability of building walls and appliances, along with heating and cool systems.  

"Existing buildings were built long ago, and they are relatively inefficient. Much can be done to improve their efficiency," said Patrick Hughes, director of the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center.

The lab houses equipment that allows researchers to determine how well walls hold up to wind and water penetration.

It's the only one of its kind in the United States.  

"We have not had that capability before, most of our industry partners haven't either. Most of these types of systems are very important for the global markets," said Hughes.  

Ultimately, the facility should advance technology in homes and commercial buildings, saving homeowners and businesses money.

ORNL partners with companies like General Electric to design more efficient buildings and heating and cooling systems that could lead to savings on energy costs. 

The research that will happen at the MAXLAB is an extension of testing done at other ORNL building technology research facilities.

ORNL researchers hopes the MAXLAB will help to enhance their capabilities.  

"There is a lot of exciting new technologies that are in the process of being integrated into products that will make buildings more energy efficient," Hughes said.

The lab is expected to be fully functional within two months.

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