Responsive Building Elements (RBEs) are technologies for the exploiting at the building scale renewable energy sources and the opportunities offered by the environment. Among the RBE concepts identified by the IEA-ECBCS Annex 44, Advanced Integrated Façades (AIFs) is probably one of the most promising technologies. Important players in the field of the façade have started to develop integrated modular façade systems (Multifunctional Façade Modules - MFMs), with a dynamic behaviour and interacting with the other building services, in order to reduce the building energy consumption and maximize the indoor comfort conditions. In the frame of a research activity aimed at the development of solar and active building skin, a MFM has been conceived and a prototype realized for experimental evaluation. The work presented in this paper illustrates the first results of the experimental campaign on the RBE-MFM called ACTRESS (ACTive, RESponsive and Solar). The ACTRESS façade module is being tested by means of a Test Cell apparatus. The main physical quantities (e.g. heat fluxes, temperatures, transmitted irradiances, PV power, air flows, etc.) are continuously measured by means of more than 70 sensors placed on the mock-up. A detailed picture of the monitoring system is given with the description of the measurement procedures. Preliminary results concerning the behaviour of the system during summer and mid season are illustrated and discussed.

Published in Conference papers

Responsive Building Elements (RBEs) and energy storage within the building are considered as a crucial development towards the nearly Zero Energy/Emission Building target. The exploitation at the building scale of renewable energy sources and the opportunities offered by the environment is achieved by the ability of the RBEs to dynamically adapt to changing environmental conditions. Among these concepts, Advanced Integrated Façades (AIFs) are probably one the most promising technologies, due to the important role that the building envelope plays in controlling the energy and mass flows between the building and the outdoor environment. In the framework of a decade-long research activity on AIFs, a new Multifunctional Façade Module (MFM) has been conceived and a prototype realized for the experimental assessment of its performance. The work herewith presented illustrates the results of the experimental campaign on the RBE-MFM called ACTRESS (ACTive, RESponsive and Solar)

Published in Conference papers

The adoption of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) in building components is an up-to-date topic and a relevant number of research activities on this issue is currently on the way. A particular application of PCMs in the building envelope focuses on the integration of such a kind of material into transparent envelope components. A numerical model that describes the thermo-physical behaviour of a PCM layer in combination with other transparent materials (i.e. glass panes) is developed to perform numerical analyses on various PCM glazing systems configurations. The paper illustrates the structure of the model, the main equations implemented and the hypotheses adopted for the model development. The comparison between numerical simulations and experimental data of a simple PCM glazing configuration is also presented to show the potentials and the limitations of the numerical model. While a good agreement between simulations and experimental data can be shown for the surface temperature of the glazing, the comparison between simulated and measured transmitted irradiances and heat fluxes does not always reach the desired accuracy. However, the numerical tool seems to predict well the thermo-physical behaviour of the system and may therefore represent a good starting point for simulations on different configurations of PCM glazing systems.

Published in Journal papers

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