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Special Issue "Solar Technologies for Buildings"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Xudong Zhao
Highly Cited - Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters)

Director of Research, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: solar thermal and power generation technologies and systems; PV/thermal; heating and cooling; energy efficiency; heat and mass transfer
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Yanping Yuan

Deputy Dean, School of Mechanical Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China
E-Mail
Interests: built environment for underground space; phase change materials; heat and mass transfer; solar thermal and power generation; heat pumps; refrigeration; air conditioning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that the global energy demand is continuously growing, and buildings are consuming one third of the total energy supply in developed countries and one-fourth in developing countries. Reducing energy demands and making good use of renewable energy are considered to be a major route towards a low energy and sustainable future, in particular, for the building sector.

Solar technologies have been well explored for many years, and solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal, and hybrid photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) are regarded as the most feasible renewable solutions for building applications. Solar thermal, as the most mature technology among all currently available solar technologies, is proven to have relatively higher solar conversion efficiency, two to four times higher than that of PV systems. Furthermore, solar thermal technology, owing to the wide range of applications and the massive scale production at a global level, can obtain a much shorter payback period compared to its lifetime.

PV is currently a technically and commercially mature technology, able to generate and supply short/mid-term electricity using solar energy. Although the current PV installations are still small and provide only 0.1% of world total electricity generation, a market review has indicated that global PV installations are growing at an average annual rate of 40%. With continuous technical advances, increased installation volume, reduced prices and encouraging legal policies, PV will certainly continue growing at a quick pace and will eventually become an important energy supplier in the world. It was predicted by IEA (International Energy Agency), at its recent Technology Roadmap–Solar Photovoltaic Energy that, PV will deliver about 5% of the global power need by 2030 and 11% by 2050. The accelerated use of PV will result in more than 100 giga-tons (Gt) of CO2 emission reduction during the period of time between 2008 and 2050.

PV/T is a hybrid technology combining PV and solar thermal components into a single module to enhance the solar conversion efficiency of the module and to make economic use of the space. A PV/T module can simultaneously generate electricity and heat, and therefore takes advantages of both the PV and solar thermal technologies. The dual functions of the PV/T result in a higher overall solar conversion rate than that of only PV or solar collectors, and thus enable a more effective use of solar energy. Its market potential is, therefore, expected to be higher than individual PV and solar thermal systems. The current PV/T systems use water or refrigerant as working fluids; neither are ideal choices as (1) water provides a high pressure drop and thus needs greater pump power; (2) a refrigerant has the problems of liquid boiling and imbalanced distribution. Moreover, the combination of PV cells and the thermal panel is imperfect, owing to their uneven contact surface and different thermal and physical properties, which lead to a high contact resistance, low thermal and electrical efficiencies and potential risk of PV cell and wire separation. To overcome these difficulties, significant research in PV/T has been carried out, and numerous achievements are being reported.

Solar systems comprise various components that, when brought together, enable a smart and stablized energy supply to buildings. Among those, the most prominent elements are phase change materials and intelligent control and monitoring technologies, which help create the stablized, efficient, and cost effective energy supply to buildings, and allow for a stable, automated, and energy-efficient system operation. Furthermore, modular fabrication and building combinations are also important measures to achieve true building integration of solar thermal and power systems.    

We invite investigators to contribute original research articles, as well as review articles, that will stimulate the continuous efforts on understanding the operational principles of the various building-applicable solar thermal and power technologies and systems. We are particularly interested in articles describing new materials, methods, theories, or practical innovations that can help enhance the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar systems. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Solar thermal systems: domestic hot water, space heating and cooling
  • Photovoltaic (PV) and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technologies
  • Photovoltaic/Thermal (PVT) technologies
  • Solar thermal energy storage systems, including PCMs
  • Thermal management system using intelligent control and monitoring measures
  • Building integration methods for solar technologies and associated performance characterization.

Prof. Dr. Xudong Zhao
Prof. Dr. Yanping Yuan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • solar thermal
  • solar power
  • PV
  • PV/T
  • Heat storage
  • intelligence system
  • technologies
  • building
  • integration

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Energy-Saving Analysis of Solar Heating System with PCM Storage Tank
Energies 2018, 11(1), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010237
Received: 18 November 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A solar heating system (SHS) with a phase change material (PCM) thermal storage tank is proposed with the view that traditional heat water storage tanks present several problems including large space requirements, significant heat loss and unstable system performance. An entire heating season
[...] Read more.
A solar heating system (SHS) with a phase change material (PCM) thermal storage tank is proposed with the view that traditional heat water storage tanks present several problems including large space requirements, significant heat loss and unstable system performance. An entire heating season (November–March) is selected as the research period on the basis of numerical models of the SHS-PCM. In addition, taking a public building in Lhasa as the object, the heating conditions, contribution rate of solar energy, and overall energy-saving capability provided by the heating system are analyzed under different PCM storage tanks and different terminal forms. The results show that an SHS with a PCM tank provides a 34% increase in energy saving capability compared to an ordinary water tank heating system. It is suggested that the design selection parameters of the PCM storage tank should specify a daily heat storage capacity that satisfies 70~80% of the entire heating season. A floor radiant system with supply/return water temperatures of 40/35 °C provides the optimal operation and the largest energy saving capability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Analytical Investigation of the Heat-Transfer Limits of a Novel Solar Loop-Heat Pipe Employing a Mini-Channel Evaporator
Energies 2018, 11(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010148
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
PDF Full-text (3848 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents an analytical investigation of heat-transfer limits of a novel solar loop-heat pipe developed for space heating and domestic hot water use. In the loop-heat pipe, the condensate liquid returns to the evaporator via small specially designed holes, using a mini-channel
[...] Read more.
This paper presents an analytical investigation of heat-transfer limits of a novel solar loop-heat pipe developed for space heating and domestic hot water use. In the loop-heat pipe, the condensate liquid returns to the evaporator via small specially designed holes, using a mini-channel evaporator. The study considered the commonly known heat-transfer limits of loop-heat pipes, namely, the viscous, sonic, entrainment, boiling and heat-transfer limits due to the two-phase pressure drop in the loop. The analysis considered the main factors that affect the limits in the mini-channel evaporator: the operating temperature, mini-channel aspect ratio, evaporator length, evaporator inclination angle, evaporator-to-condenser height difference and the dimension of the holes. It was found that the entrainment is the main governing limit of the system operation. With the specified loop design and operational conditions, the solar loop-heat pipe can achieve a heat-transport capacity of 725 W. The analytical model presented in this study can be used to optimise the heat-transfer capacity of the novel solar loop-heat pipe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Seven Operation Modes and Simulation Models of Solar Heating System with PCM Storage Tank
Energies 2017, 10(12), 2128; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10122128
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 6 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4972 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A physical model and dynamic simulation models of a solar phase-change heat storage heating system with a plate solar collector, phase-change material (PCM) storage tank, plate heat exchanger, and auxiliary heat sources were established. A control strategy and numerical models for each of
[...] Read more.
A physical model and dynamic simulation models of a solar phase-change heat storage heating system with a plate solar collector, phase-change material (PCM) storage tank, plate heat exchanger, and auxiliary heat sources were established. A control strategy and numerical models for each of seven different operation modes that cover the entire heating season of the system were developed for the first time. The seven proposed operation modes are Mode 1: free cooling; Mode 2: reservation of heat absorbed by the solar collector in the PCM storage tank when there is no heating demand; Mode 3: direct supply of the heating demand by the solar collector; Mode 4: use of the heat absorbed by the solar collector to meet the heating demands, with the excess heat stored in the PCM storage tank; Mode 5: use of heat stored in the PCM storage tank to meet the heating demands, Mode 6: combined use of heat stored in the PCM storage tank and the auxiliary heating sources to meet the heating demands; and Mode 7: exclusive use of the auxiliary heat sources in order to meet the heating demands. Mathematical models were established for each of the above seven operation modes, taking into consideration the effects of the outdoor meteorological parameters and terminal load on the heating system. The real-time parameters for the entire heating season of the system with respect to the different operation modes can be obtained by solving the simulation models, and used as reference for the optimal design and operation of the actual system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Transmittance and Reflectance Studies of Thermotropic Material for a Novel Building Integrated Concentrating Photovoltaic (BICPV) ‘Smart Window’ System
Energies 2017, 10(11), 1889; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111889
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel Building Integrated Concentrating Photovoltaic (BICPV) Smart Window has been designed and developed as a next generation intelligent window system. In response to climatic conditions, the smart window varies solar light transmission into the building for provision of light and heat with
[...] Read more.
A novel Building Integrated Concentrating Photovoltaic (BICPV) Smart Window has been designed and developed as a next generation intelligent window system. In response to climatic conditions, the smart window varies solar light transmission into the building for provision of light and heat with the reflection of light to the photovoltaic (PV) for electricity generation. This unique function is realised using an integrated thermotropic layer in conjunction with embedded PVs. As commercial PVs are readily available, the success of this novel BICPV design depends solely on the performance of the thermotropic material. This study aimed to develop a suitable reflective thermotropic layer for the proposed smart Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) system. A Hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) polymer was tested for its applicability as a potential reflective thermotropic material for this purpose. HPC concentration was systematically varied from 1 wt. % to 6 wt. % in aqueous solution so as to provide insight into the relationship between transmittance/reflectance properties, the concentration of the thermotropic material and their dependence upon the environmental temperature. The degree of hysteresis of light transmittance upon subjecting HPC to heating and cooling cycles was also investigated. Specifically, for the HPC liquid samples the measured threshold temperature/transition temperature (Ts) was observed to be approximately 40 °C for 6 wt. % HPC, increasing to approximately 44 °C for 1 wt. % HPC. No hysteresis was observed upon heating and cooling HPC samples. Reflectance below the Ts was recorded at ~10%, increasing up to ~70% above the Ts for 6 wt. % HPC. Finally, a HPC-based hydrogel membrane sample was developed and exhibited good thermotropic activity therefore demonstrating its suitability for use within the BICPV smart window. This study corroborates that HPC is a suitable thermotropic material in the application of next generation BICPV smart window systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Studies of Phase Change and Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials in a Cold Storage/Transportation System with Solar Driven Cooling Cycle
Energies 2017, 10(11), 1867; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111867
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 4 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
PDF Full-text (5547 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper presents the different properties of phase change material (PCM) and Microencapsulated phase change material (MEPCM) employed to cold storage/transportation system with a solar-driven cooling cycle. Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) tests have been performed to analyze the materials enthalpy, melting temperature range,
[...] Read more.
The paper presents the different properties of phase change material (PCM) and Microencapsulated phase change material (MEPCM) employed to cold storage/transportation system with a solar-driven cooling cycle. Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) tests have been performed to analyze the materials enthalpy, melting temperature range, and temperature range of solidification. KD2 Pro is used to test the thermal conductivities of phase change materials slurry and the results were used to compare the materials heat transfer performance. The slurry flow characteristics of MEPCM slurry also have been tested. Furthermore, in order to analyze the improvement effect on stability, the stability of MEPCM slurry with different surfactants have been tested. The researches of the PCM and MEPCM thermal properties revealed a more prospective application for phase change materials in energy storage/transportation systems. The study aims to find the most suitable chilling medium to further optimize the design of the cold storage/transportation systems with solar driven cooling cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Optimization of Solar Water Heating System under Time and Spatial Partition Heating in Rural Dwellings
Energies 2017, 10(10), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10101561
Received: 10 September 2017 / Revised: 23 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3762 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper proposes the application of time and spatial partition heating to a solar water heating system. The heating effect and system performance were analyzed under the continuous and whole space heating and time and spatial partition heating using TRNSYS. The results were
[...] Read more.
This paper proposes the application of time and spatial partition heating to a solar water heating system. The heating effect and system performance were analyzed under the continuous and whole space heating and time and spatial partition heating using TRNSYS. The results were validated by comparing with the test results of the demonstration building. Compared to continuous and whole space heating, the use of time and spatial partition heating increases the solar fraction by 16.5%, reduces the auxiliary heating by 7390 MJ, and reduces the annual operation cost by 2010 RMB. Under time and spatial partition heating, optimization analyses were conducted for the two system capacity parameters of the solar collector area and tank volume and the one operation parameter of auxiliary heater setting outlet temperature. The results showed that a reasonable choice of the solar collector area can reduce the dynamic annual cost, the increased tank volume is advantageous to heat storage, and the auxiliary heater setting outlet temperature have greater influence on the indoor heating effect. The advanced opening of solar water heating system and the normal opening of passive air vents are recommended. Based on the comparison of the two modes, the time and spatial partition heating technology is a better choice for rural dwellings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Performance Investigation of the Novel Solar-Powered Dehumidification Window for Residential Buildings
Energies 2017, 10(9), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10091369
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 3 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 10 September 2017
PDF Full-text (8300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, a solar-powered dehumidification window (SPDW), combining a conventional double-glazed building window with a solid desiccant packed bed and a photovoltaic panel, has been proposed to dehumidify the air supplied to a residential building in an energy-saving way. The solid desiccant
[...] Read more.
In this paper, a solar-powered dehumidification window (SPDW), combining a conventional double-glazed building window with a solid desiccant packed bed and a photovoltaic panel, has been proposed to dehumidify the air supplied to a residential building in an energy-saving way. The solid desiccant packed bed was installed between the double layers of the residential window to achieve the compact building-integrated window-dehumidifying system that could be regenerated by solar energy, and the photovoltaic panel was used to compensate the electricity for the operation of the fans to supply the air to the building. To investigate the dehumidification and regeneration performance of the SPDW, the transient moisture removal, dehumidification efficiency, temperature difference between the building inlet and outlet air, heat transfer characteristics, desiccant temperature, regeneration rate, and the power of the fans and the photovoltaic panel were analysed for different inlet air conditions and simulated solar radiation. It was found that, for the system operated under an inlet air temperature of 19.2 °C and a relative humidity of 86.1% during the dehumidification process, the system performed with a maximum transient moisture removal of 7.1 g/kg, a maximum dehumidification efficiency of 58.60%, a maximum temperature difference between the inlet and outlet air of 10.7 °C, and a maximum released adsorption heat absorbed by the dehumidified air of 89.66%. In the regeneration process, the system performed with a maximum desiccant temperature of 35.3 °C, a maximum regeneration rate of 153 g/h, and a maximum power of the photovoltaic panels of 39.83 W under the simulated solar radiation of 900 W/m2. The results from the established semi-empirical model agreed well with the testing results, and the model could be used to predict the water content ratio of the desiccant modules during the dehumidification process under different conditions, which will be helpful in the analysis and application of the SPDW in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Performance Study of a Novel Solar Solid Dehumidification/Regeneration Bed for Use in Buildings Air Conditioning Systems
Energies 2017, 10(9), 1335; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10091335
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, a novel solar solid dehumidification/regeneration bed has been proposed, and its three regeneration methods, i.e., simulated solar radiation regeneration, microwave regeneration, and combined regeneration of the microwave and simulated solar radiation, were experimentally investigated and compared, as well as the
[...] Read more.
In this paper, a novel solar solid dehumidification/regeneration bed has been proposed, and its three regeneration methods, i.e., simulated solar radiation regeneration, microwave regeneration, and combined regeneration of the microwave and simulated solar radiation, were experimentally investigated and compared, as well as the dehumidification performance. The degree of regeneration of the proposed system under the regeneration method combining both microwave irradiation and simulated solar radiation could reach 77.7%, which was 3.77 times higher than that of the system under the simulated solar regeneration method and 1.05 times higher than that of the system under the microwave regeneration. The maximum energy efficiency of the proposed system under the combined regeneration method was 21.7%, while it was only 19.4% for the system under microwave regeneration. All these proved that the combined regeneration method of the simulated solar and microwave radiation not only improved the regeneration efficiency of the system, but also enhanced the energy efficiency. For the dehumidification performance, the maximum transient moisture removal was 14.1 g/kg, the maximum dehumidification efficiency was 68.0% and the maximum speed of dehumidification was 0.294 g/(kg·s) when the inlet air temperature was at 26.09 °C and the air relative humidity was at 89.23%. By comparing the testing results with the semi-empirical results from the Page model, it was indicated that the Page model can predict the regeneration characteristics of the novel solar solid dehumidification/regeneration bed under the combined method of microwave and simulated solar regeneration. The results of this research should prove useful to researchers and engineers to exploit the potential of solar technologies in buildings worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Investigation of the Dynamic Melting Process in a Thermal Energy Storage Unit Using a Helical Coil Heat Exchanger
Energies 2017, 10(8), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10081129
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9057 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, the dynamic melting process of the phase change material (PCM) in a vertical cylindrical tube-in-tank thermal energy storage (TES) unit was investigated through numerical simulations and experimental measurements. To ensure good heat exchange performance, a concentric helical coil was inserted
[...] Read more.
In this study, the dynamic melting process of the phase change material (PCM) in a vertical cylindrical tube-in-tank thermal energy storage (TES) unit was investigated through numerical simulations and experimental measurements. To ensure good heat exchange performance, a concentric helical coil was inserted into the TES unit to pipe the heat transfer fluid (HTF). A numerical model using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach was developed based on the enthalpy-porosity method to simulate the unsteady melting process including temperature and liquid fraction variations. Temperature measurements using evenly spaced thermocouples were conducted, and the temperature variation at three locations inside the TES unit was recorded. The effects of the HTF inlet parameters were investigated by parametric studies with different temperatures and flow rate values. Reasonably good agreement was achieved between the numerical prediction and the temperature measurement, which confirmed the numerical simulation accuracy. The numerical results showed the significance of buoyancy effect for the dynamic melting process. The system TES performance was very sensitive to the HTF inlet temperature. By contrast, no apparent influences can be found when changing the HTF flow rates. This study provides a comprehensive solution to investigate the heat exchange process of the TES system using PCM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Numerical and Experimental Study on a Solar Water Heating System in Lhasa
Energies 2017, 10(7), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10070963
Received: 9 April 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
PDF Full-text (5705 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lhasa is a “solar city” with high altitude, located in a cold zone in China. Due to the lack of mineral energy sources and the fragility of its ecological environment, solar heating technology is the first choice to satisfy the demand of indoor
[...] Read more.
Lhasa is a “solar city” with high altitude, located in a cold zone in China. Due to the lack of mineral energy sources and the fragility of its ecological environment, solar heating technology is the first choice to satisfy the demand of indoor thermal comfort for building heating. In this study, an accurate solar heating system in Lhasa was investigated under the simultaneous charging and discharging operation mode. Based on the solar heating system, a numerical calculation method of the tank temperature distribution under the simultaneous charging and discharging operation mode was proposed and validated by experiments. This numerical method offers a correlation between the output water temperatures of the tank and the input water temperatures of the tank, which can be used to optimize the thermal performance of the solar heating system in future studies. To evaluate the system performance under the simultaneous charging and discharging operation mode, the transient coefficient of performance (COP) of the heating system was calculated based on the experimental measurements. The calculated results showed that the system COP reached an average number of 3.0, which was nearly equal to that of gas-boiler heating system and much higher than that of electrical heating systems. A north-facing room and a south-facing room were both selected to test whether the room temperatures met the heating requirements. The test results showed that the north-facing room had an average temperature over 17 °C while the south-facing room was over 20 °C, which illustrated that a good heating effect was achieved. Although a relatively high system COP was shown with a good heating effect for the solar heating system under the simultaneous charging and discharging operation mode, further recommendations were proposed for the mass flow rates of the solar collecting cycles and control stagey of the fan coil unit (FCU). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Investigation of the Energy Performance of a Novel Modular Solar Building Envelope
Energies 2017, 10(7), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10070880
Received: 25 May 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
PDF Full-text (5619 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The major challenges for the integration of solar collecting devices into a building envelope are related to the poor aesthetic view of the appearance of buildings in addition to the low efficiency in collection, transportation, and utilization of the solar thermal and electrical
[...] Read more.
The major challenges for the integration of solar collecting devices into a building envelope are related to the poor aesthetic view of the appearance of buildings in addition to the low efficiency in collection, transportation, and utilization of the solar thermal and electrical energy. To tackle these challenges, a novel design for the integration of solar collecting elements into the building envelope was proposed and discussed. This involves the dedicated modular and multiple-layer combination of the building shielding, insulation, and solar collecting elements. On the basis of the proposed modular structure, the energy performance of the solar envelope was investigated by using the Energy-Plus software. It was found that the solar thermal efficiency of the modular envelope is in the range of 41.78–59.47%, while its electrical efficiency is around 3.51% higher than the envelopes having photovoltaic (PV) alone. The modular solar envelope can increase thermal efficiency by around 8.49% and the electrical efficiency by around 0.31%, compared to the traditional solar photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) envelopes. Thus, we have created a new envelope solution with enhanced solar efficiency and an improved aesthetic view of the entire building. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle The Risk of Residential Peak Electricity Demand: A Comparison of Five European Countries
Energies 2017, 10(3), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10030385
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2509 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The creation of a Europe-wide electricity market combined with the increased intermittency of supply from renewable sources calls for an investigation into the risk of aggregate peak demand. This paper makes use of a risk model to assess differences in time-use data from
[...] Read more.
The creation of a Europe-wide electricity market combined with the increased intermittency of supply from renewable sources calls for an investigation into the risk of aggregate peak demand. This paper makes use of a risk model to assess differences in time-use data from residential end-users in five different European electricity markets. Drawing on the Multinational Time-Use Survey database, it assesses risk in relation to the probability of electrical appliance use within households for five European countries. Findings highlight in which countries and for which activities the risk of aggregate peak demand is higher and link smart home solutions (automated load control, dynamic pricing and smart appliances) to different levels of peak demand risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Phase Change Materials in Transparent Building Envelopes: A Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
Energies 2018, 11(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010111
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 31 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
PDF Full-text (8669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Building envelopes can play a crucial role in building improvement efficiency, and the adoption of Phase Change Materials (PCMs), coupled with transparent elements, may: (i) allow a better control of the heat flows from/to the outdoor environment, (ii) increase the exploitation of solar
[...] Read more.
Building envelopes can play a crucial role in building improvement efficiency, and the adoption of Phase Change Materials (PCMs), coupled with transparent elements, may: (i) allow a better control of the heat flows from/to the outdoor environment, (ii) increase the exploitation of solar energy at a building scale and (iii) modulate light transmission in order to prevent glare effects. Starting from a literature review, focused on experimental works, this research identifies the main possible integrations of PCMs in transparent/translucent building envelope components (in glazing, in shutters and in multilayer façade system) in order to draw a global picture of the potential and limitations of these technologies. Transparent envelopes with PCMs have been classified from the simplest “zero” technology, which integrates the PCM in a double glass unit (DGU), to more complex solutions—with a different number of glass cavities (triple glazed unit TGU), different positions of the PCM layer (internal/external shutter), and in combination with other materials (TIM, aerogel, prismatic solar reflector, PCM curtain controlled by an electric pump). The results of the analysis have been summarised in a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis table to underline the strengths and weaknesses of transparent building envelope components with PCMs, and to indicate opportunities and threats for future research and building applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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