The Foundation Test Facility (FTF)

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Aerial view of the Foundation Test Facility

1.    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND DISCLAIMER

The FTF and all associated research have been carried out with the support of:

While this financial support is gratefully acknowledged, the Principal Investigators assume complete responsibility for the contents herein.


2.   INTRODUCTION

The Foundation Test Facility (FTF) was established in 1988 at the University of Minnesota's Rosemount Research Center in Rosemount, MN by the Underground Space Center (USC).  Upon closure of the USC in 1995, the FTF was transferred to the Minnesota Building Research Center (MnBRC) and thereafter, in 1997, to the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA).  The primary purpose of the facility is to demonstrate objectively and unambiguously that foundation insulation produces significant energy savings, particularly in a cold Minnesota climate.  Additional aspects of building foundation system behavior studied include overall earth-contact envelope moisture transport as well as the impact of foundation systems on interior basement radon concentrations.

In order to generalize the results obtained at the FTF to building foundations throughout Minnesota, particularly for design and retrofit energy analyses, it is necessary to develop appropriate techniques for calculating earth-contact building envelope heat transfer for all the soil and climatic conditions and building foundation configurations found throughout the state.  This has been accomplished via the three-dimensional BUFETS (Building Foundation Energy Transport Simulation) series of computer codes.  Hence, a second objective of the FTF has been to generate sufficient three-dimensional transient experimental data suitable for testing the physical viability and accuracy of the BUFETS codes.  (The last public-domain revision of BUFETS, revsion A. , was developed at the University prior to the closure of the USC.)

Four basement foundation test modules were constructed in 1988 followed by two shallow foundation modules in 1991. Hence, data has been collected at the FTF over ten heating seasons (including the current 1997/98 season).  The data collected fall into two categories, termed 'system' and 'transient' respectively.  The system data are gathered manually on a weekly basis while the transient data are gathered automatically on a continuous basis by an automated data acquisition system.  In general, system data are gathered during a test period which extends from the beginning of November through the end of April, while the transient data span periods as long as full calendar years.


3.    DESCRIPTION OF THE FTF

4.    1996/97 HEATING SEASON SYSTEM RESULTS

5.    1997/98 HEATING SEASON SYSTEM RESULTS

6.    1998/99 HEATING SEASON SYSTEM RESULTS

 

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