Minnesota and Wisconsin; (September 3, 2019) – The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently awarded a competitive Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant to LHB to study phase change material use for passive thermal regulation in buildings. CARD funds projects to identify new technologies or strategies to maximize energy savings, improve the effectiveness of energy conservation programs, or document the carbon dioxide reductions from energy conservation. LHB’s grant proposal was selected from a strong field of applicants and is one of only twelve CARD grants awarded from that funding opportunity.
Phase change materials, also called PCMs, change phase as they absorb thermal energy (heat). This emerging technology is a strategy 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 will partner with Madison-based consultant Slipstream to assess PCM’s impact on energy efficiency, peak energy loads, and occupant comfort in existing Minnesota buildings.