Heating and cooling a home is certainly expensive. In fact, it costs a lot of money—and uses a lot of energy. The U.S. Energy Information Admin., says more than half of all home energy in the United States is used for heating and cooling. The good news is innovation is coming for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) if you look inside what is happening at one university.
At Purdue University, researchers have developed a scalable, automatable process that improves upon the traditional method to incorporate PCMs (phase change materials) into construction materials. The incorporation of PCMs like paraffin, esters, and salt hydrates into building envelope elements moderates the effect of outside temperature changes on the indoor environment.
Here is how this can help:
- Convert changes in thermal energy into phase changes by transitioning from a solid into a liquid, or the opposite.
- Provide useful cooling or heating by absorbing or releasing energy during transitions.
- Reduce energy consumption in buildings, which reduces emissions and costs.
Looking to the future, we are going to see the rise of new materials to reduce energy consumption in all walks of life. In this case, this example will help construction material manufacturers improve the carbon footprint of heating and cooling in homes.