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An Experimental Study of the Performance of PCM-Enhanced Cellulose Insulation Used in Residential Building Walls Exposed to Full Weather Conditions
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Air conditioning energy consumption in summer represents a major concern in many areas with hot and humid climates. When incorporated into the walls of light-weight residential buildings, phase change materials (PCMs) can increase the effective thermal mass of the walls and shift part of the space cooling loads to off-peak hours. The thermal properties of pure phase change materials (PCMs) and those of the mixtures of PCMs with cellulose insulation were studied via differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) tests and mass change tests. To directly prove the concept that PCM-enhanced insulation can reduce the peak heat flux across walls as well as its potential to shift part of the space cooling loads to a later time of the day, the performance of PCM-enhanced cellulose insulation was studied using two small-scale testing houses exposed to full weather conditions during the summer seasons. The testing houses were air conditioned and independently metered. Both houses had identical thermal responses prior to any retrofits. Before the tests, the PCM enhanced insulation was blown into the wall cavities in one test house while plain cellulose insulation was installed in the other house for comparison purposes. Hourly heat fluxes and daily heat flow data for four walls are presented. Based on the results, important recommendations are provided for the optimal use of PCMs in insulation systems.
Fang, Y.; Medina, M.; Evers, A. (2008). An Experimental Study of the Performance of PCM-Enhanced Cellulose Insulation Used in Residential Building Walls Exposed to Full Weather Conditions. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from