Keywords:Solar wall (SW), Trombe wall, Phase Change Materials (PCM), experimental data, CFD, simulation, building energy performance, energy savings
Solar walls can be used to increase the overall energy efficiency of a building. Phase Change Materials (PCM) are capable of increasing the effective thermal mass of building elements, thus decreasing the overall energy consumption. Recently, the incorporation of PCM in a solar wall has been proposed, aiming to increase the total energy efficiency of the system. The main scope of this work is to investigate the thermal behaviour of a PCM-enhanced solar wall (PCMESW), using experimental and numerical simulation techniques. A prototype PCMESW is installed in a large-scale test facility and is exposed to dynamically changing climate conditions. A broad range of sensors, used to monitor the time-evolution of several important physical parameters, is employed to assess the dynamic response of the PCMESW. In addition, a Computational Fluid Dynamics tool is used to numerically investigate the thermal behaviour of the PCMESW prototype. Predictions of the developing flow- and thermal-field in the PCMESW’s air cavity are validated by means of comparison with the obtained measurements; in general, good levels of agreement are observed. Results of the numerical simulations may support the design optimization process of innovative PCMESW systems.