Phase Change Material Field Study
Phasing into Energy Savings
The Minnesota Department of Commerce awarded a competitive Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant to LHB to study phase change materials for use as passive thermal regulation in buildings. Known as PCMs, these materials change as they absorb thermal energy (heat). This emerging technology is a strategy used for passively regulating thermal conditions in applications including office buildings and educational facilities. While PCMs have been of interest in passive solar buildings for many decades, recent advances in installation strategies and a focus on non-passive buildings by fabricators and manufacturers of the product suggest research opportunities to support further market penetration— especially in retrofit applications. LHB is partnering with Slipstream to assess PCM’s impact on energy efficiency, peak energy loads, and occupant comfort in existing Minnesota buildings through a multi-year research study.