HRL Laboratories (formerly Hughes Research Laboratories) is a scientific research centre in Malibu, California, currently owned by General Motors Corporation and Boeing. Their technologies include Cyber-Physical Resilience and Brain-Machine Intelligence which operate in space, on aircraft and in automobiles.
The research facility is housed in two large, multi-story buildings on a Malibu hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The modernist white and glass buildings were designed by Los Angeles architect Ernest Lee.
The key reason for the high-energy consumption in laboratory facilities, is their high ventilation rates and the associated air conditioning loads. To ensure a comfortable and practical environment within the labs, a consistent building temperature of 24 degrees Celsius was defined.
Post-occupancy, the buildings required 240 ton of refrigeration to be applied to maintain this temperature of 24 degrees. Alternative solutions to reduce the cooling load through minimising solar heat gain had to be found, and without infringing on Malibu’s rigid legislation on reflective glass and window films.
The micro fine louvred metal fabric then known as KoolShade was installed throughout, ensuring 87% of the sun’s rays and its effects were blocked. The reduction in refrigeration tonnage was recorded at over 17% due to the screens alone.
60 years later, the screens are still in place, performing as they did on day 1, and remain aesthetically pleasing, without any maintenance. The building management have confirmed that they are simply pressure washed (in-situ) just twice a year and are still ‘in great shape’.