Experimental Study on Integration of Thermoelectric Materials in Exterior Walls for Heating and Cooling in High-Performance Buildings

Apr 16, 2018

Please note: The attached file below contains a paper linked to a presentation in pdf format from the BEST5 conference. Open with Adobe Acrobat for best results.

This article discusses design, prototype development and an experimental study of facade-integrated thermoelectric (TE) smart materials. TEs are semiconductors that have the ability to produce a temperature gradient when electricity is applied, exploiting the Peltier effect, or to generate a voltage when exposed to a temperature gradient, utilizing the Seebeck effect. TEs can be used for heating, cooling, or power generation. In this research, heating and cooling potentials of these novel systems were explored. Initially, we designed and constructed two prototypes, where one prototype was used to study integration of TE modules (TEM) as stand-alone elements in the facade, and one prototype was used to explore integration of TEMs and heat sinks in facade assemblies. We tested both prototypes, where a thermal chamber was used to represent four different exterior environmental conditions (0°F, 30°F, 60°F and 90°F). The interior ambient conditions were kept constant at room temperature. The supplied voltage to facade-integrated TEMs varied from 1 to 8 V. We measured temperature outputs of TEMs for all investigated thermal conditions using thermal imaging, which are discussed in detail in this article. The results indicate that while stand-alone facade-integrated TEMs are not stable, addition of heat sinks improves their performance drastically. Facade-integrated TEMs with heatsinks showed that they would operate well in heating and cooling modes under varying exterior environmental conditions.

Dr. Ajla Aksamija Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts
Presented at: 
Building Enclosure Science and Technology (BEST5) Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
BEST5 Technical Committee

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