Field studies and climate assessment

Field studies and climate assessment
© Fraunhofer IBP
Fraunhofer IBP has the world's largest field test site for studying building materials and constructions, components and materials, as well as plant components, on a scale of 1:1.

Field studies under real weather conditions provide the most information


The possibility of combining field studies with simulations has proven to be particularly advantageous when it comes to testing products. On the one hand, this allows simulations to be validated and on the other hand, the work involved in field studies can be reduced to an acceptable level. At our Holzkirchen site, we have the world's largest open-air test site for studying building materials and structures, parts and system components on a 1:1 scale. The extreme weather conditions there - radiant summers, cold winters, heavy driving rain – make the location ideal for studies of this kind.

One large and several small meteorological stations on the open-air test site and in the immediate vicinity permit an accurate analysis of weather conditions and their respective geographical dependencies (microclimate analyses). Some of these stations have been recording all relevant climate parameters continuously since the 1980s. The collected data are also used as boundary conditions for hygrothermal and energy performance simulations, as well as to interpret field test results in more detail.

Our extensive experience enables us to tailor field studies to the research needs of our clients. We offer a wide range of services:

  • We test anything from building materials or components up to complete test houses under outdoor weather conditions. We study various aspects, such as the insulating effect of insulating materials or systems, as well as moisture behavior and durability.
  • We determine how the moisture buffering or the thermal properties of special material layers, e.g. phase change materials (PCM) or low energy (low-E) layers, affect the sense of comfort of the people living and working in buildings.
  • Depending on the task at hand, we record a wide range of parameters such as temperature, humidity and heat flows (monitoring). We then use models to evaluate the collected data accordingly.
  • Last but not least, we conduct a broad spectrum of tests on wall, roof and cellar elements as well as on small test specimens, in some cases using equipment developed specially for the purpose.