Thermal Performance Testing Facilities

The BCERL now also features a guarded hot box facility. The purpose of the guarded hot box is to test steady state thermal performance of building components and building systems according to ASTM standards such as ASTM C 1199, C 1363 and E 1424. The Guarded Hot Box consists of three chambers: a metering chamber, a guard chamber and a climatic chamber. The metering chamber and climatic chamber are both used to contain airflow baffles, electric heating elements, cooling coils, an air circulation system, and sensing equipment. The metering chamber is used to simulate indoor conditions and the climatic chamber is used to simulate outdoor conditions. The guard chamber encapsulates the metering chamber to ensure that the conditions being monitored in the metering chamber are unaffected by room conditions. High accuracy thermocouples, RTDs, and thermopiles are used to monitor surface and air temperatures, and additional sensors are used to measure specimen deflection and other air conditions. The insulated box is capable of testing specimens up to 6 ft. 6 in. by 3 ft. 8 in. with a maximum thickness of 9 in. BCERL facilities can also be configured to conduct thermal performance investigations in accordance with NFRC standard methodologies, e.g., NFRC 100, 101, 102, 200 and 201. Facilities are also available to facilitate thermographic inspections.

Testing Capabilities

  • Thermal insulation efficiency for a number of different types of building insulation
  • Heat conductance, transmittance or resistance of specimens
  • Determination of thermal properties of built-up or composite building panel components


The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304