The Energy Lab 2.0 atKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is an intelligent platform, set up toexplore the interplay of components in the energy systems of the future and inparticular to speed up the energy transition in Germany through the integrationof renewable energy in the production of electricity. Electrical, thermal andchemical energy flows, as well as new information and communicationtechnologies are combined in a cluster of facilities. Project partners are the HelmholtzCentres, the National Aeronautics and Space Research Centre of the FederalRepublic of Germany (DLR) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ).
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The new construction ofbuilding 668 on a site formerly used for experiments with solar energy in thenorth of the Campus Nord provides an attractive, high-quality and flexible locationfor this research.
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The detached building hasthe appearance of a homogenous unit with a translucent building envelope madeof polycarbonate that allows the wooden construction on the interior to shimmerthrough and accommodates an ample, column-free test hall as well as a two-storeyoffice wing.
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The main approach isfrom the west via a glass vestibule in the central zone of access, which leads betweenthe offices and the hall, alongside a lightweight glass wall, into the building,allowing generous views between these building sections. The right side opensup onto a hall, while the office spaces are aligned on the left. The control station,the test preparation area, the meeting rooms and the auxiliary rooms are alsolocated here. In the building centre, a stairway and elevator lead to the upperstorey, where additional office and preparation rooms are located, as well as asmall staff kitchen with seating. The rooms allocated to the test areas areadjacent to the hall atrium and provide direct views into this open space.
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The test hall accommodatesthe areas “Power-Hardware in the Loop” (PHIL) and “Smart EnergySystem Control Laboratory” (SESCL) as well as assembly areas for tests. Thehall and the saw-tooth roof are generously clad with translucent polycarbonateplates, which allow a consistent amount of daylight to enter the entire testarea. Adjacent assembly areas for technical construction elements with largethermal loads are not part of the energy system of the building envelope but instead,with their slatted facade, ensure consistent heat removal and ventilation ofthe construction elements.
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Thematerial of the hall incorporates references to the neighbouring buildings withtheir industrial character. Window openings set in specific places in theoffice facade enable a selective illumination of the interior spaces with theirunobtrusive design. While here wood and simple glass facades are the dominantdesign element, the hall is characterized by the polycarbonate facade and thewooden construction of the saw-tooth roof.