A Visit to the Larson Building Systems Laboratory

BY Emily Frost
7/22/2019 - HVAC Employment

HARDI’s Executive Vice President, Emily Saving, had the opportunity to tour Larson Building Systems Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder this past June.

Larson Labs

Jeff Pecoroni, Andrew Larson, Emily Saving, and Sergio Castillejos touring Larson Lab

The Larson Building Systems Laboratory is a unique facility in the HVAC industry that allows the study of entire HVAC systems in a controlled dynamic environment, providing repeatable test conditions that have since been unavailable. The facility is used for educational and research purposes and is designed for dynamic testing of complete and full-scale commercial HVAC and building systems. 

The Larson Lab was originally conceived by CU-Boulder, ASHRAE, and the National Society of Professional Engineers to conduct research at a system level, rather than a subsystem or component level, and also to provide real-life educational programs at CU to support the HVAC industry and bring awareness to engineering students.

The lab was then sponsored by Gustav A. Larson Co., a leading wholesale distributor in HVACR, who helped transition the lab onto CU’s campus in the Engineering Center. Andrew Larson, Chairman and CEO of Gustav A. Larson Co. and an alumnus of the University of Colorado, is passionate about helping students envision a career path in HVAC, and for manufacturers in the industry to view the lab as a top recruiting ground. More than 1,000 engineering students have passed through the Larson Lab on their paths to professional careers in the building industry.  

A Fascinating Tour

While Emily was touring the facility, she got to view two of the PhD candidates’ design concept experiments. One PhD Candidate, Dareum Nam, was running an active experiment on Active Chilled Beam in one of the two test zones available for students. Sergio Castillejos and Jeff Pecoroni, from Heatcraft, accompanied Emily to the Larson Lab tour and Dareum was able to present her design to them - a very exciting experience for her! 

Sergio and Jeff from Heatcraft viewing Dareum's experiment

The second test zone was occupied by a team studying the effects of building systems on infection rates in hospital operating rooms. The test zones allow students to assess their experiment under a variety of different conditions, allowing each student to customize the room based on their design concept, which explains the mannequins serving as hospital patients!

Unknown-1-1Sergio and Jeff viewing the second test zone

Emily was amazed by the sophistication of the lab designed to improve the HVAC industry. “This is important for our industry in that this lab allows students an innovative space to learn and grow within HVAC.” said Emily. “In an industry challenged to find qualified people, any way we can encourage an interest in HVAC amongst students is important. Larson Lab does a fantastic job of promoting the industry and the opportunities available within it.”

What Can HARDI Members Do to Help?

CU Boulder is seeking support to continually improve programmatic efforts, research partnerships, and opportunities to boost recruiting for the Larson Lab.

HARDI Members Can...

  • Donate HVAC equipment to the facility
  • Fund student scholarships or research
  • Help build awareness for program recruiting efforts

To get involved contact Emily Saving at esaving@hardinet.org