Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Building facades to generate energy

A new high-tech solution known as advance phase-change material (PCM) has been developed to help buildings harness the power of the Sun and become more energy efficient.
Building facades to generate energy
Energy efficiency in buildings is becoming pivotal in developing sustainability and reducing civilisation's carbon footprint. From better insulation to facades that generate solar power, many modern buildings are becoming greener than ever. This involves the use of advanced PCM that can effectively transform a wall into a solar energy-generating structure.

The EU-funded SOLPCM (Solar collector and PCM thermal façade for low carbon buildings) worked to develop a new type of building facade that generates solar energy for heating and cooling. It also looked at integrating a solar air collector and a PCM storage layer.

Research focused on enhancing walls with high-tech materials such as solar selective absorbing coating, transparent insulation and PCM. The aim was also to offer passive solar heating and fresh air for office buildings or public buildings.

The project's research findings highlighted a company from China that produces the novel shape-stabilised PCM (SSPCM) boards with different phase-change temperatures and thermal conductivities. The boards can provide renewable energy storage material in buildings and are particularly ideal in areas with high solar radiation and fluctuating temperatures.

SOLPCM findings were published in several papers and in a report for relevant authorities, contributing as well to a forthcoming book on the topic. Marking the project's positive outcomes, the Chinese company successfully exploited the results to produce SSPCM for storing thermal energy. The technology was then applied to an actual building project and confirmed the solution's viability.

Project research has shown that the technology can achieve energy savings of up to 32.5 % in the case of passive solar heating and 88.3 % with respect to fresh air pre-heater applications for office buildings. In light of this evidence, the project's outcomes promise to radically improve energy efficiency in buildings, a great step towards combating climate change.

Related information

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

Building facades, phase-change material, energy efficiency, SOLPCM, heating
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