—A Colorado firm participating in the latest Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) Program is partnering with NREL to refine its building energy management control systems—but there’s a twist. While it is common to install what’s called “hardware-in-the-loop” (HIL) to validate products by using physical devices, EdgePower is drawing on NREL’s building simulation competency to test its controllers virtually.

“We are putting their controller into a synthetic environment that is called ‘controller in-the-loop,’” said NREL Senior Engineer and Residential Systems Innovation & Performance Manager Dane Christensen, the principal investigator on the project. This environment builds on the HIL practice, commonly used in the Energy Systems Integration Facility as an experimental methodology to put pieces of hardware into realistic operational settings.