USE OF WOOD/PHASE CHANGE MATERIAL COMPOSITE IN THE BUILDING ENVELOPE FOR BUILDING THERMAL CONTROL AND ENERGY SAVINGS
Buildings contribute to serious environmental and economic problems as they are energy-intensive. Our work focuses on the investigation of the wood / phase change material composite material for the building envelope application. The composite material was embedded in the building envelope for thermal management. It was made by wood (Pine & Cherry) infiltrated with phase change material (PCM). Paraffin wax was considered as the PCM for peak temperature mitigation to help reduce the load on the air conditioning system. This composite material in the building envelope can efficiently absorb and release heat to adjust the building interior temperature through the phase change process. The thermal properties of the wood/PCM composite material were characterized, including the open porosity of the composite material, thermal conductivity, specific heat, and the latent heat of fusion of PCM. The building energy savings were investigated by comparing the composite building envelope material with two conventional layer materials (structured insulated panel and metal panel wall) in our unique Zero Energy Lab building structure (spreading across 1200ft2 area) at University of North Texas (UNT) through a building simulation tool (e-Quest). The exact climatic conditions of the local area (Denton, Texas) were used as the input values in the simulations. Through the numerical simulations, it investigated the effect of PCM on the building interior temperatures. It was found that the use of wood/PCM composite in the building envelope would help reduce the space cooling energy consumption by 2.7% and the heating energy consumption by 11.3% annually.