BeTOP, which stands for Building efficiency: Testing, Operation, and Performance is a test cell for advanced building systems and material performance evaluation. The design of the test cell aimed to allow the investigation of the dynamic interactions between building enclosure components, indoor environments, and mechanical systems for Canadian buildings.
BeTOP allows studies on new and existing building systems, with over 500 sensors embedded in a multi-physics approach, such as:
- Investigating the hygrothermal behaviour of new systems in an outdoor setting: the enclosure in BeTOP allows researchers to measure condensation issues or in-situ thermal properties of the systems that are affected by variable weather conditions;
- Performing aging tests on new building systems in the Canadian climate: in this regard, the reduction of the thermo-physical performance of the investigated panels overtime requires continuous analysis of the recorded data to assess changes with respect to the lab characterization results;
- Studying both exterior and interior enclosure systems exposed to the dynamic outdoor conditions while testing different HVAC regimes inside. The assessment uses quantitative analysis of several physical parameters in the building enclosure and in the indoor room of BeTOP.
- Assessing energy-related performance and indoor comfort levels, including acoustics, and lighting parameters;
- Testing the impact of building enclosure systems on indoor room environment and energy use;
- Assessing the synergies between innovative building systems and different HVAC systems and their design rules.
This test cell allows for comparative assessment of eight full-scale wall components simultaneously and four roof systems, including opaque and transparent building systems. The size of each individual wall component allows for the testing of multiple components in one opening area. BeTOP is made of two modules separated by an internal partition, allowing for different controllable indoor conditions in each half. In addition to the primary comparative experimental testing of building components, analytical evaluation of thermophysical and hygrothermal parameters is also possible in BeTOP.