Case studies of outdoor testing and analysis of building components

Strachan, P.A. and Vandaele, L. (2008) Case studies of outdoor testing and analysis of building components. Building and Environment, 43 (2). pp. 129-142. ISSN 0360-1323 (

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The construction and development of the PASSYS/PASLINK outdoor test cells were funded by the European Commission, with the objective of providing high-quality test environments for quantifying the performance of passive solar building components. Over the years since the original test cells were commissioned, the initial concept for outdoor testing has been extended to include other test cell types. Significant improvements have been made to the experimental procedures and analysis techniques, and a broad range of components has been tested. This paper describes representative experiments that have been conducted using these highly controlled outdoor test environments, indicates some of the related analysis, and shows the type of information that can be obtained from such tests. It demonstrates the way in which component performance can be ascertained in the realistic external environment. The case studies chosen range from building component tests within EC research projects to commercial tests, and from conventional building components to novel integrated facade systems. They also include a large range of passive and active components. Each case study summarises the test component, the purpose of the test, details of the test configuration (period of test, instrumentation, etc.), results and analysis, and associated modelling and monitoring where appropriate. The paper concludes with an appraisal of the advantages and limitations of the test cells for the various component types.