MDL Construction and Team Update

After 2 months of work the construction of the Mobile Diagnostic Lab is still following its course. Up until this very day different phases of the project have been covered (see previous blog update). Like other construction projects, different challenges have arisen, but the team of students working on it were capable to surpass them.

The tasks covered up until now were:

1) Interior installation of the wall U-Line on top of the wall insulation which will contain the cables connecting the 218 sensors on the different walls of the Mobile Lab monitoring the experiments. In order to set those sensors and read precise data, different supports and radiation shields will be constructed.

2) Installation of the wood framed partition.

3) Design and construction of the removal wall section of the trailer. This will facilitate and secure and simple installation of the different wall assemblies in between experiments if necessary.

4) Creation of a wall mock-up with all its composing layers that could be used for presenting the MDL.

5) Installation of the ceiling insulation.

6) Design and programming of the electrical setting linked to the data acquisition, as well as first installations.

7) Installation of the HVAC system (still in process).


The image below is of the wall partition showing the stud framework, where the door into the experimental space will be as well as the HVAC holes above it.


The image below shows Evan Jeanblanc working to install the wall partition. 


The team also presented their work at the annual symposium on undergraduate research & create expression hosted by Iowa State University. Kaylinn Taggart (4th year in Architecture and Community/Regional Planning) and Laura Michaelson (3rd year in Mechanical Engineering) presented the team’s work. The Mobile Labs research capabilities were discussed, which range from many energy efficiency applications to occupant interaction with buildings. Kaylinn presented her possible research utilizing the MDL in human behaviors and applied space analysis in order to better understand the built environment, as well as the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency. As for Laura, she presented her idea of using the Mobile Lab as a tool to validate and refine different Computational Fluid Dynamic softwares.


These two students are part of the 4-member team working on the project under Prof. Ulrike Passe’s supervision. The other two students are:

Evan Jeanblanc, the project lead. He is a first-year Master Student in Architecture. His master thesis currently covers two main problematics. The first one focuses on better understanding the evolution through time of sustainable construction techniques in architecture in order to better understand how architects and engineers included sustainability in their design. The second objective would be to create spatial building indicators as a tool for both architects and engineers to easily improve their building designs in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability.

Yoann Gorostiaga, who joined the team in February for five months as a CBER intern. He is a master student in Civil Engineering and City Planning from INSA LYON (National Institute of Applied Sciences of Lyon), France. For his CBER internship he is also working on two other projects under Prof. Ulrike Passe’s and Dr. Cetin’s supervision. The first one treats energy efficiency in buildings under control strategies on dynamic shading in a controlled environment at the Iowa Energy Center. The second one is a part of an interdisciplinary research project around city sustainability putting together the experience of many professors and students from different fields. For this project and with another student, Yoann has been developing an urban model of the East Capitol District of Des Moines with UMI in order to better understand the district’s energy consumption as well as the effect of possible retrofits.


Image below shows Laura Michaelson and Yoann Gorostiaga.