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Influence of User Behaviour on the Functioning and Performance of Passive Phase-Change Material Systems after More Than a Decade of Operation

Obergfell, Tabea ; Gölz, Sebastian; Haussmann, Thomas; Gschwander, Stefan; Wagner, Andreas ORCID iD icon 1
1 Institut Entwerfen und Bautechnik (IEB), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)


Phase-change materials (PCM) in buildings are considered a promising option to prevent overheating in warm seasons. Numerous studies have shown a noticeable improvement in thermal comfort through PCM, but in real applications they have often underperformed. User behaviour is often neglected as an important factor in determining PCM performance and might be a limiting factor. Another factor could be time-dependent degradation, which has also been scarcely researched so far. We used simulations within two case studies to investigate whether the PCM applications, each of which had been in operation for more than ten years, were still functioning from a technical perspective and what influence user behaviour had on their performance. We found that the PCM applications still had a positive influence on the thermal performance of the rooms, although the effect due to behavioural optimizations was significantly greater. The PCM was able to reduce the time of discomfort by 9–45% in the baseline scenario with real documented user behaviour in both rooms. Improved user practices increased the reduction in discomfort to 33–52%. For future studies evaluating PCM and its use, we recommend considering realistic user habits, as implementing optimal behaviour could lead to an overestimation of PCM performance and dissatisfaction with the technology.

Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000152900
Veröffentlicht am 21.11.2022
DOI: 10.3390/buildings12111797
Zitationen: 2
Web of Science
Zitationen: 2
Zitationen: 2
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut Entwerfen und Bautechnik (IEB)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsjahr 2022
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 2075-5309
KITopen-ID: 1000152900
Erschienen in Buildings
Verlag MDPI
Band 12
Heft 11
Seiten Art.-Nr.: 1797
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 26.10.2022
Schlagwörter latent heat storage, phase-change materials, building applications, thermal comfort, user behaviour, cooling degree hours
Nachgewiesen in Web of Science
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