The hot box

The Hot Box by SAFIERA is used to test energy efficiency of fenestration elements

The AAAMSA Group established the South African Fenestration and Insulation Energy Rating Association (SAFIERA) to support its drive to promote energy efficiency in the building industry. SAFIERA’s primary goal is to provide a fair, accurate, and reliable energy performance rating system.

The energy performance rating process is based on the complementary use of computer simulation and physical system testing to establish energy performance ratings for fenestration and thermal insulated building envelope systems.

The formation of the association has led to an investment by the AAAMSA Group for the construction and commissioning of its flagship RGHB test facility. The RGHB, located at the Thermal Test Laboratory (TLL) on the CSIR campus, can be used to determine the heat transmission values (U-values) of most building envelope systems in accordance with ASTM C 1363-05 and ASTM 1199.

Test specimens are mounted in a test frame between two climatic chambers, exposing the one side of the test specimen to typical room conditions and the other side to typical cold external conditions respectively.

Room conditions are typically 21°C and airflow conditions representing natural convection, while the cold external conditions are typically -18°C and airflow velocities of up to 20 km/hr.

By carefully calibrating and characterizing the RGHB, it is possible to determine the comparative and absolute U-values of various specimens in a controlled environment.

Although the RGHB is currently configured to test fenestration elements, it can easily be reconfigured to test practically any other insulated building envelope system. Tests are normally performed for building envelope systems in a vertical orientation, but by rotating the RGHB, measurements can also be performed for the test specimen at any inclination in between vertical and horizontal.

To allow comparison of the results of the fenestration testing, the standard dimensions for fenestration specimens are 1195mm wide x 1495mm high; with a tolerance of 2mm. Manufacturers should ensure that the specimens presented for testing have been successfully tested for air leakage.

The maximum specimen dimension that can be tested in the RGHB is 4100mm wide x 3600mm high. For non-standard test specimens and tests, it is important for manufacturers to consult with TTL prior to the manufacturing

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