To Measure Not Model: Case Study - Purdue University Center for High Performance Buildings

Dave Sereno, Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
Jeff Cappelle, Affiliated Engineers, Inc.

Presentation will use Purdue University Center for High Performance Buildings (Herrick) as a case study to convey the learning objectives. (1) A brief Herrick mission statement introduction: 'To measure not model' will provide background on error margins in predicting building systems performance and an overview of Herrick's laboratory topology to evaluate products and systems. The emphasis being empirical, (built, installed, instrumented and measured, longitudinally--not modeled), to then better inform, calibrate and improve the accuracy of Energy Models, CFDs and other predictive, simulation tools. (2) Data Acquisition System Architecture. Domain and attributes will be presented for five systems against the criteria of accuracy, safety and cost. (3) Manifestations of the above mission and tools: a. Thermal Sciences Lab (including an instrumented borefield) b. Psychrometric Chambers c. Sustainable Laboratory Suite d. Air Quality Laboratory e. Perception Based Engineering (PBE) Laboratory f. Electromechanical Vibrations High Bay Laboratory g. Powertrain Engine Test Cell Laboratory (4) Q&A.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand error margins in Energy Modeling and CFDs (Computational Fluid Dynamics), and how they relate to both sustainable design and lab safety.
  • Understand Data Acquisition System Architectures and the importance of ‘right tool for the job' options/choices to be made early in a project.
  • Understand the keys to measurement, metering, and baseline when predicting building systems performance.
  • Understand displacement ventilation, applications and advantages.


Mr. Sereno is a Principal with the firm and leads its Industrial practice, working with automotive, engine, and aerospace manufacturers; national laboratories; fuel and oil companies; and major research universities. His experience spans a wide range of technical projects, from research laboratories and large integrated production and development technical centers, to individual engine, power train, chassis, servo-hydraulic, and fuel source performance and analysis cells.

Mr. Cappelle participates in projects as a project manager and mechanical engineer. When analyzing and designing systems for facilities, he draws from a background focused on complex process and mechanical distribution systems, which support industrial test and production facilities, mission critical facilities, and research labs. His professional career spans 11 years, eight of those with Affiliated Engineers, Inc.


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