Effects of Phase Change Materials on heat flows through double skin facades


  • Thomas Wüest Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Institute of Civil Engineering IBI
  • Lars O. Grobe Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Institute of Civil Engineering IBI
  • Andreas Luible Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Institute of Civil Engineering IBI




thermal storage, passive solar façade, Trombe wall, Phase Change Materials, Solar Energy Balanced Façade


The potential of exemplary organic and inorganic Phase Change Materials (PCMs) as façade integrated
storage is tested. The impact of two PCMs on heat flows is assessed in comparison with water and
concrete. The simulation-study employs a transient Modelica simulation model of a test cell featuring
the Solar Energy Balanced Façade (SEBF). It is shown that, when compared to water, PCMs of identical
volume change the seasonal energy balance in winter and summer by only ± 4%. Other than water,
the PCMs maintain this effect even if the storage volume decreases. Due to spatial constraints, this
can support the integration of thermal storage in façade design considerably. Preliminary results
indicate that designing thermal storage in façades with PCMs must not only consider the latent heat
storage capacity, but also take into account the combined effects of latent heat capacity, melting
point, conductivity, and dead load. The application of PCMs promises to foster the integration of the
technology of SEBF into façades, but the necessary deliberate selection of, and design with, PCMs
requires further research.

Author Biography

Thomas Wüest, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Institute of Civil Engineering IBI

CC Facade and Metal Engineering

Senior Research Associate


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