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HEAT House | Measuring house for Heating Equipment & Appliance Testing (HEAT)

The HEAT House is a testing facility to conduct reference measurements and tests for heating techniques and applications such as central heating systems, heat pumps, solar collectors and (cooled) solar panels. It further provides the opportunity to test different forms of facade solutions. Through the simulation of real-life living situations with a special focus on temperature changes, the HEAT House puts new and already existing heating techniques to the test with the aim to establish the most efficient use of energy for heating purposes. It also helps us in the transition from natural gas to electricity as a source for heating.

Facility for commercial use and education

Commercial parties can test equipment/appliances in reference conditions as well as explore the temperature and heat potential limits of the tested systems. Moreover, the measuring of isolation values of building materials is one of the many possibilities. In addition to the commercial use, the HEAT House offers room for students in form of internships and graduation assignments or curricula-based projects (e.g. process control, mechanical and civil engineering) and research on thermal systems like state of the art hybrid heat pumps, internships during commercial projects and graduation assignments Such a variety of input requires a vast amount of flexibility. Not only for the installed hardware but also for the measuring/controlling equipment and the required software.

Are you interested in testing your equipment/applications in the HEAT House? Please contact Ted Wildenberg for more information.


1. Testing different sized heating systems

The HEAT House has a total temperature controlled volume of 420 m3. This volume is split up into two parts, one simulating the inner environment of a house (hereafter ‘inner part’) and one simulating the outer environment (hereafter ‘outer part’). In the inner part (300 m3) smaller sections can be divided up in order to simulate a specific room situation, for example a living room with 60 m3. The outer part (120 m3) can be used e.g. for testing an outside heat-exchanger or an air-water heat pump. This special structure allows integrating different sized heating systems within the HEAT-house.

2. Connection for radiators and floor heating

Most commonly used heating equipment such as central heating systems and heat pumps are using water to transfer heat to the needed rooms/areas. Through the use of radiators and floor heating, the heat will be transferred into the special sections. Both systems are implemented within the inner part of the HEAT House. In coherence with the set-up of the HEAT House, different volumes can be heated separately. The floor sections for floor heating range from 5.4m2, 10.8m2, 21.4m2, 31.7m2, 43.0m2, 54.9m2 to 67.9m2. In addition, a maximum of six radiators can be randomly placed in the same area. The height of the sections can be up to 5m.

3. Connection structures

Furthermore four different connection set-ups are installed and can be connected for testing purposes, These connection structures include flexible measuring equipment (hardware and software) to perform measurements under reference conditions.

4. Isolation properties of materials (under development)

An expansion to the HEAT House is the option to test materials on their isolation properties by using the separation wall of the inner and outer parts. As a special feature a frame of the same size as used in BuildinG, the knowledge and innovation center for future-proof building, will be implemented. This allows an integrated testing in both facilities.

5. Temperature specifications

The inner part of the HEAT House is equipped with a temperature range from +5ºC up to +30ºC. Other areas around and above the inner part are equipped with a range from + 18ºC  up to 30ºC. Future expansion might increase the range for the outer part to go down to -20ºC creating the possibility to test the heat-exchangers in sub-zero temperatures.

Involved parties

The original idea for the HEAT House was posed by GasTerra to enforce the role of natural gas in energy transition. Together with Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen (the energy field lab EnTranCe and the educational programs civil engineering and mechanical engineering) they worked out the initial idea into a design. To realize this design, the civil engineering company Pharmtechnics and the gas technology expertise company Kiwa were chosen. Together these four parties started finalizing the design which lead to the HEAT House as it presently exists at the Zernike campus. The HEAT House was built on behalf of GasTerra and is donated to the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in May 2017.


In the second half of 2014 GasTerra had the idea to open a test center for heating systems. Behind this idea stands the thought that natural gas, commonly used as an energy source for heating systems, can play an important role in the energy transition from fossil fuels to sustainable fuels. Natural gas is the least polluting fossil fuel. The initial idea included the construction of a small village with different houses from different decades. Due to the different time of construction, the houses are equipped with different heat isolation values. However, the question arose whether such a village will deliver the desired information, as it most likely will deliver information about the building rather than the heating system. Based on this conclusion, the focus of the HEAT House changed to the heating systems self, and particularly on improving and testing them. The challenge hereby is the ever changing climate situation in the Netherlands. To tackle this problem, the solution of a predictable climate was introduced in form of a highly isolated building in which temperatures can be controlled.


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