skip to main content

Title: Low-cost phase change material as an energy storage medium in building envelopes: Experimental and numerical analyses

A promising approach to increasing the energy efficiency of buildings is the implementation of a phase change material (PCM) in the building envelope. Numerous studies over the last two decades have reported the energy saving potential of PCMs in building envelopes, but their wide application has been inhibited, in part, by their high cost. This article describes a novel PCM made of naturally occurring fatty acids/glycerides trapped into high density polyethylene (HDPE) pellets and its performance in a building envelope application. The PCM-HDPE pellets were mixed with cellulose insulation and then added to an exterior wall of a test building in a hot and humid climate, and tested over a period of several months, To demonstrate the efficacy of the PCM-enhanced cellulose insulation in reducing the building envelope heat gains and losses, side-by-side comparison was performed with another wall section filled with cellulose-only insulation. Further, numerical modeling of the test wall was performed to determine the actual impact of the PCM-HDPE pellets on wall-generated heating and cooling loads and the associated electricity consumption. The model was first validated using experimental data and then used for annual simulations using typical meteorological year (TMY3) weather data. Furthermore, this article presents the experimentalmore » data and numerical analyses showing the energy-saving potential of the new PCM.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Renewable Energy Group, Inc., Tulsa, OK (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy Conversion and Management
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 88; Journal ID: ISSN 0196-8904
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC)
Sponsoring Org:
Work for Others (WFO); USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; phase change materials; low-cost PCM; PCM modeling; finite element analysis; COMSOL