Climate change and the increasing demand for energy, including heat, have become global challenges. One of the options for reducing the thermal energy demand of buildings is to make more efficient use of thermal profits from solar energy than before. This is possible by using heat storing phase-change materials in the structure of buildings. Michał Musiał, PhD Eng., from the Department of General Construction Engineering at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture at Rzeszów University of Technology, believes that it is one of the possibilities to reduce the costs of heating in winter and cooling in summer inside the buildings . The researcher is studying the possibilities of wider application of heat storing phase-change materials in the structures of newly designed and already existing buildings .
Modern Heat Storage
Phase-change materials have the ability to store heat over long or short periods of time, so they can be used in dividing structures such as windows, walls, and ceilings, as well as in heating, ventilation, and buffer heat storage systems. An important advantage of these materials is their ability to store large amounts of heat in a small volume of material and at a constant temperature. Due to these properties, it is possible to effectively stabilize the daily temperature changes inside the building spaces, reducing the need for cooling and heating them with heat from non-renewable sources [3, 4].
New phase-change material
Market needs induce research on new materials, the properties of which will allow obtaining greater thermal, and thus financial benefits. Michał Musiał, PhD Eng., within the framework of his doctoral dissertation entitled “Analysis of energy efficiency of transparent building partitions modified with phase-change materials”, among others, developed and patented  a new, original phase-change material, characterised in certain conditions by more favourable properties than currently available phase-change materials [6, 7].
In October 2021, the scientist was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award in the category of “outstanding doctoral dissertation”.
Construction of the future
In the face of emerging energy crises, modern construction and heating technologies must be continuously improved. Components of building materials or installation elements can be solutions that were previously used, for example, in aerospace.
Solutions allowing the use of energy from renewable sources, such as solar energy, are increasingly used in the construction industry. However, the use of solar energy for heating purposes must take into account the changing weather conditions and the nature of the climate in which the building operates. Storage of absorbed heat from solar energy using phase change materials allows for independence from changing external climate conditions and more efficient use of the absorbed gains for the heat demand profile of the building spaces [8, 9]. The use of phase-change materials as internal heat storage can translate into lower heating and cooling costs for buildings. It is an energy-efficient, low-carbon solution, developed in accordance with the principles of sustainable construction.
Source: Rzeszów University of Technology
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