Phase change materials in facades of buildings for solar heating and cooling

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Phase change materials (PCMs) have already been used in buildings and building services for several decades, mostly integrated into walls or ceilings to passively increase the building’s thermal inertia, or integrated into the HVAC system for (pre-)heating or (pre-)cooling fresh air. More recently, the use of PCMs in facades is being explored for solar heating. This paper presents the results of a several years of research into the use of PCMs in rotatable Trombe walls and sun-shading for passive heating and cooling purposes. Simulations used a custom-made model of a room in Matlab/Simulink, in which all relevant heat transfer paths and mass components are accounted for. Once the behaviour of PCM was modelled, the model was connected with the optimisation platform modeFRONTIER to study the (best) performances under different scenarios. The results show that a significant reduction in the energy demand for heating and cooling can be achieved in different climates. The results also show that the shading and insulating effect of the solar wall have the highest impact on the reduction of the cooling respectively heating demand, followed by the thermal mass effect. The paper ends with the development of a prototype of a Trombe wall which was installed in an office at the Green Village (a living lab in Delft).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the REHVA World Congress CLIMA 2022
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherTU Delft Open
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress: Towards digitalized, healthy, circular and energy efficient HVAC - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 22 May 202225 May 2022


ConferenceCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress
Internet address


  • Phase change materials
  • heating and cooling
  • demand
  • Trombe wall
  • solar wall


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