# Increasing energy efficiency of HVAC systems of buildings using phase change material

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3 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Phase change material layers The addition of a phase change material (PCM) into the external wall of a building has been shown to reduce the amount of energy required to cool the building [9-15]. This is accomplished through the melting and solidification of the PCM. During the day, the PCM melts absorbing energy that would otherwise be transferred into the interior of the room. At night, the PCM freezes rejecting energy to both the interior and exterior of the room. 2. Methodology 2.1 CFD solver ANSYS - FLUENT [16] is a general-purpose CFD code, which solves the Unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) equations using the finite-volume method on a collocated grid. It can model fluid flow and heat transfer in complex geometries using an interactive, menu-driven interface. It can solve 2- and 3-D problems in steady and unsteady simulations. FLUENT has the capability to solve incompressible and compressible flows using inviscid, laminar, and turbulent viscosity models. There is a wide array of turbulence models available, including Spalart-Allmaras (S-A), k-ω, and k-ε (standard, RNG, Realizable) models. 2.2 Flow field computations The initial starting values of temperature, T = K, and density, ρ = kg/m 3, were employed. Discrete-ordinate method for the radiation calculation was employed. The governing equations are solved using the First-Order-Upwind scheme and the pressure is calculated using the PRESTO! scheme. The SIMPLE algorithm was employed for the coupling of the velocity and pressure. The k-ε (RNG) model, which uses two equations to calculate the eddy viscosity, was used in the first set of computations. The S-A turbulence model was used in the PCM computations because it is a simpler oneequation model. The Boussinesq approximation was utilized to simulate the buoyancy effects. The Boussinesq approximation takes the density to be a constant in all terms except in the buoyancy term of the momentum equation. 2.3 Temperature controller The temperature controller was designed and coded into a Fluent function so that it maintained a band of temperatures deemed comfortable, 72.4 F to 76. F (.6 K to K). The controller was setup such that if the temperature reached the upper set point in the controller, the mass flow inlets would turn on and drive the temperature down to the lower set point, at which the jets would turn off. Figure 1 shows the behavior of the temperature controller as it cycles the mass flow inlets Temperature [K] Mass Flow [kg/s] Time [s] Control Temperature Mass Flow Figure 1. Temperature controller behavior

4 67 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Constant mass flux was specified across the mass flow inlets. The controller read the temperature 3" off of the rear wall and halfway between the floor and ceiling, and the two side walls. This was done to simulate realistic placement of the thermostat inside of the room. 2.4 Exterior wall temperature wave form Two external wall temperature wave forms were used in these simulations (Figure 2). For the first set of computations (without PCM) an ASHRAE TETD curve [17] was coded into FLUENT Temperature [K] Time [hr] Figure 2. Hot wall temperature wave form The second temperature wave form was utilized for the PCM calculations. It was created using the ASHRAE SolAir calculation that approximates all the heat transfer from convection, conduction and radiation on a surface of a building as an equivalent temperature. The SolAir temperature for Sioux Falls, SD was used [17]. 2.5 Exterior wall modeling The exterior wall was modeled as traditional glazed window construction with a window shade. The materials, layer thicknesses and properties are given in Table 1. Table 1. Exterior wall section properties Material Thickness [in] Cp [J/kg-K] ρ [kg/m3] k [W/m-K] Insulated Glass Air Plastic Shade 1/ For the PCM simulations a PCM layers was added between the air and plastic shade in the external wall. Table 2 shows the PCM thickness and properties. Table 2. Phase change material (PCM) properties Material PCM 1 (Outlast 7815)* PCM 2 (Rubitherm RT 31)* Thickness [in] 1/32 1/4 Cp [J/kg-K] Hf [kj] k [W/m-K] *commercial Trade Mark products

5 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp CFD simulations and results 3.1 Pre-processing: Mesh generation Case 1: Case 1 was created to simulate the conventional variable-air-volume (VAV) ventilation system. A 3-D Cartesian mesh inside Case 1 was generated by GAMBIT [18], with a uniform grid of spacing of 3" (Figure 3). The exterior wall layers were meshed with each layer having three nodes across their thickness. Figure 3. Case 1 mesh: Top view and 3-D view Despite the steep gradients near the walls, this spacing is sufficient to capture the flow field with reasonable accuracy. This mesh has a cell count of 87,552 and a node count of 11,322. Case 1's vent was sized based on HVAC requirements. The inlet and outlet dimensions of the vents are 9" 36" (.2286 m.9144 m) spaced 12" (.348 m) off of the rear wall as shown in Figure 4, which gives an area of 2.25 ft2 (.29 m2) for each vent. Case 1 has a volume of 1,368 ft 3 (38.74 m 3 ). By meeting the guidelines of four air changes per hour [8], this vent size gives a flow velocity of 4.54 ft/min (.26 m/s). Case 2: Case 2 was created to simulate the conventional variable-air-volume (VAV) ventilation system with radiant cooling. Case 2's vents were of the same size and position as of Case 1. Case 2 has the addition of the radiation slab, 6' 6' 6", which provides the chilled ceiling effect (Figure 5). The radiation slab is placed 6" below the ceiling in the center of the room. The Case 2 mesh varies slightly from the Case 1 mesh, since the radiation slab is included in Case 2. Consequently the volume for Case 2 is also slightly smaller than Case 1 (Case 2 Volume = 1,35 ft 3 ( m 3 )). A 3-D Cartesian mesh inside Case 2 was generated by GAMBIT, with a uniform grid spacing of 3" (Figure 6). The exterior wall layers were meshed with each layer having 3 nodes across their thickness.

7 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Figure 6. Case 2 mesh, top view and 3-D view Figure 7. Case 3 vent sizes on the ceiling and the floor Case 3's inlet vents are designed to have the same total inlet vent area as Case 1 and 2. There are six inlet vents on the floor. Hence, the Case 3 inlet vents are 6" 9", which gives an area of 2.25 ft 2 (.29 m 2 ) for six vents (Figure 7). Since there is no change in the total inlet vent area compared to Case 1, Case 3 meets the ASHRAE guidelines of air movement in the room. The six inlet vents are placed on the floor near the adiabatic walls. The outlet vent area of Case 3 is double the size of the outlet vent area of Case 1. Each outlet vent is of the size, 9" 36" (.2286 m.9144 m) spaced 12", giving an area of 4.5 ft 2 (.418 m 2 )) for the 2 outlet vents in Case 3. Case 3 has a volume of 1,368 ft 3 (38.74 m 3 ). A 3-D Cartesian mesh inside Case 3 was generated by GAMBIT, with a uniform grid spacing of 3" (Figure 8). The exterior wall layers were meshed with each layer having three nodes across their thickness.

8 674 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Figure 8. Case 3 mesh, 3-D view This mesh has a cell count of 1,32 and a node count of 112,233. Case 4: Case 4 was created to simulate a distributed ventilation system with radiant cooling. There are no changes in the sizes or placement of the inlet or outlet vents from Case 3, so Case 4 meets the ASHRAE guidelines of air movement in the room. Case 4 has the addition of a 6' 6' 6" radiation slab that provides the chilled ceiling effect (Figure 9). The radiation slab is placed 6" below the ceiling in the center of the room. Figure 9. Case 4 geometry Similar to Cases 1, 2 and 3, a 3-D Cartesian mesh inside Case 4 was generated by GAMBIT, with a uniform grid spacing of 3" (Figure 1). The exterior wall layers were meshed with each layer having three nodes across their thickness. The Case 4 mesh varies slightly from Case 3, since the radiation slab is included in Case 4. Consequently the volume for Case 4 is also slightly smaller than the other two cases (Case 4 Volume = m 3 ). This mesh has a cell count of 99,12 and a node count of 111,681. The same radiation model as in Case 2 is utilized in Case 4. Figure 11 shows the interior view of the room with vents and radiation slab for Case 4.

9 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Figure 1. Case 4 mesh, 3-D view Figure 11. Case 4 interior view 3.2 Results Cooling scheme comparisons The simulations utilize a mass flow rate of.528 kg/s, a flow temperature of K (6 F) and a time step of 1 seconds. Figure 12 shows the mass flow rate through the vents for the four ventilation schemes. Figure 13 shows the average volume temperature and the control point temperatures for the four cases. The control point temperature and the average volume temperatures behave similarly; however, in the cases with DV, the average volume temperature tends to be higher than the control point temperature, while it tends to be the reverse in the VAV cases. This is most likely caused by the nature of the flow field. While the average volume temperature and controller temperature do overshoot the desired peak and minimum values for temperatures in the room, the performance of the controller is sufficient to yield a reasonable comparison of the four ventilation systems. Figure 14 shows that by switching from the

10 676 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp VAV system to a DV system, cool air requirements can be reduced by 26%. When a radiation slab is added to the VAV system, cool air requirements are reduced by 28%. When a radiation slab is added to the DV case, cool air requirements are reduced by 39% over the DV case and 56% over the VAV case. Mass Flow Rate - VAV.6.5 Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (a) Mass Flow Rate - DV.6.5 Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (b) Mass Flow Rate - VAV+Radiation Slab.6.5 Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (c) Figure 12. Continued

11 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Mass Flow Rate - DV+Radiation Slab.6.5 Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (d) Figure 12. Mass flow rate through the vents for (a) Case 1, (b) Case 2, (c) Case 3 and (d) Case 4 VAV Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (a) Average Volume Temperature DV Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (b) Average Volume Temperature Figure 13. Continued

12 678 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp VAV+Radiation Slab Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (c) Average Volume Temperature DV+Radiation Slab Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (d) Average Volume Temperature Figure 13. Average volume temperature and control point temperature for (a) Case 1, (b) Case 2, (c) Case 3 and (d) Case 4 Figure 14 shows that by switching from the VAV system to a DV system, cool air requirements can be reduced by 26%. When a radiation slab is added to the VAV system, cool air requirements are reduced by 28%. When a radiation slab is added to the DV case, cool air requirements are reduced by 39% over the DV case and 56% over the VAV case Simulations with a PCM layer in the exterior wall The simulations utilize a mass flow rate of.528 kg/s, a flow temperature of K (6 F) and a time step of 1 seconds. The VAV and VAV with radiant cooling cases (Cases 1 and 2) were analyzed using two different PCM layers whose properties are listed in Table 2. Figure 15 shows the mass flow rate through the vents for the simulations.

13 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Total Inlet Mass Flow Mass of Cool Air [kg] VAV VAV + Radiation Slab DV DV+Radiation Slab 2 Figure 14. Total mass of cold air input in Cases 1, 2, 3 and 4 Mass Flow Rate - VAV.6.5 Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (a) Mass Flow Rate - VAV with PCM Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (b) Figure 15. Continued

14 68 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Mass Flow Rate - VAV with PCM Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (c) Mass Flow Rate - VAV+Radiation Slab.6.5 Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (d) Mass Flow Rate - VAV+Radiation Slab with PCM Mass Flow Rate [kg/s] (e) Figure 15. Mass flow rate through the vents for Cases 1 and 2 with the two types of PCM layer Figure 16 shows the average volume temperature and control point temperature for Cases 1 and 2 with two types of PCM layers.

15 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp VAV Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (a) Average Volume Temperature VAV with PCM Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (b) Average Volume Temperature VAV with PCM Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (c) Average Volume Temperature Figure 16. Continued

16 682 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp VAV+Radiation Slab Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (d) Average Volume Temperature VAV+Radiation Slab with PCM Temperature [k] Controller Temperature (e) Average Volume Temperature Figure 16. Average volume temperature and control point temperature for Cases 1 and 2 with the two types of PCM layers Figure 17 shows the PCM 1 layer having a minimal effect on the amount of cool air entering the room for the VAV case. There is a 4% reduction in cool air requirements for the VAV + Radiation Slab case. If PCM 2 is used, 42 % less cool air is required in the VAV case. In order to calculate the energy being removed from various Cases by the jet, we must numerically integrate: m * Cp *( Tjet TRoom average ) dt (1) The radiation slab's energy was calculated by numerically integrating: flux * area * dt (2)

17 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp where flux refers to the total surface heat flux measured on the radiation slab's surfaces and area is the total surface area of the radiation slab. The total energy removed from the cases with a radiation slab is the sum of the flow energy and radiation slab energy. Total Inlet Mass Flow Mass of Cool Air [kg] VAV VAV + PCM 1 VAV + Radiation Slab VAV + Radiation Slab + PCM 1 VAV + PCM Figure 17. Total mass of cold air input in the rooms for Cases 1 and 2 with the two types of PCM layer Figure 18 also shows that PCM 1 has a minimal effect on the amount of energy being removed from the room by the flow and the radiation slab in the VAV case. There is a 3.2% reduction in energy removed with PCM 1 in the VAV + Radiation Slab case. PCM 2 again shows a significant reduction (43%) in energy being removed from the room while the temperature controller maintained thermal comfort. Total Energy Removed -1-2 Energy [kj] -3-4 VAV VAV + PCM 1 VAV with Radiation Slab VAV with Radiation Slab + PCM 1 VAV + PCM Figure 18. Total energy removed by the slab and the flow

18 684 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp Conclusion 1. The air conditioning energy needs can be reduced through the use of distributed ventilation and chilled ceilings. Assuming the energy requirements for a cooling tower are small in comparison to that for an air conditioning unit with similar capacity, the energy savings should be roughly proportional to the reduction in chilled air being supplied to each room. For the cases analyzed in this paper, there could be a 28% reduction in energy if there was a radiant cooler added to the traditional VAV system, a 26% reduction if a displacement ventilation system was used over the traditional VAV system and a 56% reduction in energy if a displacement ventilation system with a chilled ceiling was used over the traditional VAV system. 2. Full CFD analysis of each room is required because the manner in which the air enters and exits each room creates distinct flow fields whose behavior determines the efficiency of each ventilation system. For example, the DV system introduces cold air on the floor of the room at low velocities. Temperature stratification is allowed to develop so that the hot air exits the room through the air outlets. The VAV system does not allow the stratification to take place due to the duct placement and higher air velocity; thus, the outlet air temperature is lower. 3. If the PCM is selected properly, significant energy savings can be achieved. The PCM must melt and freeze during the course of a day to realize any energy savings. References [1] Linden P. F., The Fluid Mechanics of Natural Ventilation. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 1999, 31, [2] Ürge-Vorsatz D., Harvey L.D, Mirasgedis S., Levine M. D., Mitigating CO2 Emissions from Energy Use in the World's Buildings. Building Research and Information 27, 35, [3] Bourassa N., Haves P., Huang J., A Computer Simulation Appraisal of Non-Residential Low Energy Cooling Systems in California. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy, Washington, DC, 22, [4] Howe M., Holland D., Livchak A., Displacement Ventilation-Smart Way to Deal with Increased Heat Gains in the Telecommunication Equipment Room. ASHRAE Transactions 23, 19, [5] Harvey L. D., Reducing Energy Use in Buildings Sector: Measures, Costs, and Examples. Energy Efficiency 29, 2, [6] Brandemuehl M. J., Braun J. E., The Impact of Demand-Controlled and Economizer Ventilation Strategies on Energy Use in Buildings. ASHRAE Transactions 1999, 15, [7] Costelloe B., Finn D., Indirect Evaporative Cooling Potential in Air Water Systems in Temperate Climates. Energy and Buildings 23, 35, [8] Harvey L.D.D., Handbook on Low-Energy Buildings and District-Energy Systems: Fundamentals, Techniques and Examples. Earthscan, London, 26. [9] Salyer I. O., Sircar A. K., A Review of Phase Change Materials Research for Thermal Energy Storage in Heating and Cooling Applications at the University of Dayton from 1982 to International Journal of Global Energy 1997, 9, [1] Frank B., Using Phase Change Material (PCMs) for Space Heating and Cooling in Buildings. Proceedings of AIRAH Performance Enhanced Buildings Environmentally Sustainable Design Conference, 24. [11] Ravikumar M., Srinivasan P. S. S., Phase Change Material as a Thermal Energy Storage Material for Cooling of Buildings. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology 28, 4, [12] Tyagi V. V., Buddhi D., PCM Thermal Storage in Buildings. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 27, 11, [13] Khudhair A. M., Farid M.M., A Review on Energy Conservation in Buildings: Application with Thermal Storage by Latent Heat Using Phase Change Materials. Energy Conversion and Management 24, 45, [14] Richardson M.J., Woods A.W., An Analysis of Phase Change Material as Thermal Mass. Proceedings of Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 28, 464,

19 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp [15] Muruganantham K., Phelan P., Horwath P., Ludlam D., McDonald T., Experimental Investigation of a Bio-Based Phase Change Material to Improve Building Energy Performance. Proceedings of the ASME 21 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, 21. [16] Ansys Inc., FLUENT 6.3: Flow Modeling Software, 27. [17] Howell R. H., Saur H. J., Coad W. J., Principles of Heating, Ventilation and air Conditioning. American Society of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning, New York, [18] Ansys Inc., GAMBIT 6.2: Geometry and Grid Generation Pre-Processor, 27. [19] Donnelly P., Becker R., Dedorko D., PCM Membranes in Architectural Enclosures. Proceedings of the Washington University McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership, 28, Lee Chusak received the M.S degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA in 29. His research interests are in the application of computational fluid dynamics to study the HVAC systems and energy efficiency of buildings. He is currently working as a CFD applications specialist at MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., 51 Pearl Drive, St. Peters, MO 63376, USA. address: Jared Daiber received the M.S degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA in 211. His research interests are in the application of computational fluid dynamics to study the HVAC systems and energy efficiency of buildings. He is currently working as a Maintenance Reliability Manager at Anheuser-Busch, 1 Busch Place, St. Louis, MO 63118, USA. address: Ramesh Agarwal received the Ph.D degree in aeronautical sciences from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA in His research interests are in the theory and applications of computational fluid dynamics to study the fluid flow problems in aerospace and renewable energy systems. He is currently the William Palm Professor of Engineering in department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA. He is a Fellow of ASME, AIAA, IEEE, and SAE. address:

20 686 International Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE), Volume 3, Issue 5, 212, pp

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