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FLEXLAB, Improving IAQ

Over the past few years, FLEXLAB has seen an increase in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) research. With kids back in school, people returning to work, and outdoor air quality varying with increased wildfires, IAQ will continue to be important. FLEXLAB has become the testing ground for a number of IAQ research studies, including the two highlighted in the articles below. Other current work also includes testing energy-efficient retrofit packages that improve IAQ in K-12 schools (highlighted in our Fall 2002 newsletter). This work supports the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, a program that provides technical assistance and recognition for schools that are planning and implementing this work, with an emphasis on serving schools in disadvantaged communities.

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Latest FLEXLAB News & Updates

Special Visit: GO-Biz

Representatives from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) recently toured FLEXLAB as part of their visit to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). GO-Biz serves as California’s leader for job growth, economic development, and business assistance, while CEC serves as the state's primary energy policy and planning agency, leading the state to a clean energy future. FLEXLAB Executive Director, Cindy Regnier, led a tour following a series of presentations and discussions designed to help the agencies understand the vitality of the innovation coming out of the Lab and the potential for California to capture economic growth and utilize Lab resources (like FLEXLAB) to help companies grow. The visit also provided Cyclotron Road and Activate fellows with access and contacts within the state agencies to help identify incentives and support opportunities to grow.

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Governors Office of Business and Economic Development FLEXLAB Tour

HVAC Influence of Airborne Contaminants Distribution

During the COVID-19 pandemic, guidance to reduce risk of exposure included maintaining distances from other people and improving indoor ventilation rates. However questions remain on the effectiveness of this strategy under the influence of different conditions, including HVAC system distribution and controls. A group of Berkeley Lab researchers conducted a series of experiments in FLEXLAB to evaluate the influence of overhead HVAC distribution, heating, and cooling controls on exposure to airborne contaminants emitted by people in meeting and classroom settings.

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Airflow and Capture Efficiency of Over-the-Range Microwave Exhaust Fans

Across the state (and beyond) people have used over-the-range microwaves (OTRs) that include exhaust fans to conserve space or create a sleeker design in their homes. Until recently, the capture efficiency of these OTRs has been unknown. To determine whether the OTRs would also meet code requirements, researchers from our Indoor Environment and Residential Building Systems groups evaluated several OTR models and compared them to conventional range hoods at similar cost that met industry standards and California’s building code requirements.

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Photos © The Regents of the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


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Contact Cindy Regnier 

Visit flexlab.lbl.gov

Cynthia Regnier, Executive Director

Mary Ann Piette, Acting Associate Laboratory Director, Energy Technologies Area

Jessica Granderson, Acting Division Director, Building Technology & Urban Systems

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