Thermal mass enhancement for energy saving in UK offices

Whiffen, Thomas Richard (2016) Thermal mass enhancement for energy saving in UK offices. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Energy use in buildings accounts for more than a third of global energy demand, with humans seeking to create comfortable internal environments year-round. In the UK, air or water active thermal mass systems have demonstrated viability at delivering energy efficient comfort to office spaces. Whilst an attractive proposition, there are limitations to the cooling capacity and dynamic thermal response, giving rise to overheating in poorly designed buildings.

The thesis work presented documents the investigation into active thermal mass enhancement to a prototype ventilated hollow core sample. Through engineering modelling (CFD, Excel VBA and IES) and laboratory (DSC, component and thermal chamber) testing two solutions were tested (an active-PCM module suitable for retrofit and embedded cool water pipes), with results conveying a 1 to 3°C temperature reduction and 0.1 to 0.2 kWh/m2/day AC savings during summer conditions. COP figures up to 10.6 were achieved through temperature set-point controlled water and air activated thermal mass. Economic analysis was conducted with positive results with the active-PCM module becoming viable for the UK’s non-domestic ‘Green Deal’ at a price point of approximately £300 per module.

Following the laboratory led, and simulation supported work it was possible to conclude that active thermal mass enhancements can provide financially-viable energy-efficient, thermal-comfort for non-domestic UK properties. However the extent of the benefit depends heavily on the building thermal demands, available technology and optimised system control. Further work should be conducted to; develop additional modelling tools, underpinned by the laboratory data generated, and optimise the novel active-PCM technology, suitable for lucrative target markets.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Riffat, Saffa
Yuehong, Su
Keywords: thermal mass, phase change materials, energy efficient cooling, sustainable energy technologies
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction > TH7005 Heating and ventilation. Air conditioning
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 31564
Depositing User: Whiffen, Thomas
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 14:13
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2018 10:01

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