Funds to build the Energy Research Laboratory, a 26’x45’ building that will feature advanced building materials and technologies, were provided by the Pensmore Foundation. Steven Huff, Hampden-Sydney Class of 1973 is chairman of both the Foundation and of TF Concrete Forming Systems.
The building will be constructed with walls of 1-ft.-thick concrete mixed with patented, 1” long helix steel fibers, which provide strength and flexibility to the concrete and uphold structural integrity in tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and blasts. The walls are super-insulated on the exterior and possess excellent thermal mass - the ability to hold fairly constant temperatures within the structure over extended periods of time. Solar panels and geothermal wells will provide heated or cooled water for tubing inside the walls, maintaining a consistent, comfortable climate within the structure.
The ultimate objective of the project is to test the wall’s thermal mass by maintaining proper temperatures inside the building with minimal energy-input using sustainable resources, in this case using solar power and geothermal sources.
With record-cold temperatures across the country this past winter, increasing energy costs, and government restrictions on traditional energy sources, the need to find cost-effective and energy-efficient technologies for both homes and commercial buildings is helping to drive the evolution of building technologies. This Energy Research Laboratory will play a key role in that ongoing development.
About Pensmore Foundation
The Pensmore Foundation (www.pensmore.org)
About Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney College (www.hsc.edu)