Assessing the Implementation Potential of PCMs: The Situation for Residential Buildings in the Netherlands

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To be able to come to zero-energy buildings we need to apply multiple Energy Techniques and Measures (ETMs). Phase Change Materials (PCMs) can be considered as one of these ETMs and they seem to have a lot of potential. Due to their latent heat capacity, PCMs can help to store energy of our main renewable source, the sun, and to shave energy peaks. However, little is known about what barriers exactly exist in implementing ETMs - and PCMs in particular - in residential buildings. By assessing 1) the effects of PCMs on the energy performance of dwellings, 2) their financial effects and 3) the effects of implementing PCMs for stakeholders, the implementation potential of micro-encapsulated paraffin-based PCMs in Dutch residential buildings is determined and barriers are identified. The observation was made that the effects on the actual energy use cannot be easily estimated and that their impact on compelled EPIs is little. It was also observed that only the investment costs of the PCMs can be assessed and that uncertainty exists about how PCMs perform, when actually implemented in a dwelling and used by residents for several years. Although our experiments on PCMs integrated in concrete floors showed positive results, the implementation potential of micro-encapsulated paraffin based PCMs to support or replace heating systems in residential real estate is relatively low. The results could help developers of new ETMs to become aware of what advantages their innovation can offer and what shortcomings still need to be overcome.




Entrop, A. G., Halman, J. I. M., Dewulf, G. P. M. R., & Reinders, A. H. M. E. (2016). Assessing the Implementation Potential of PCMs: The Situation for Residential Buildings in the Netherlands. In Energy Procedia (Vol. 96, pp. 17–32). Elsevier Ltd.

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