Phase change materials integrated in building walls: A state of the art review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

336 Citations (Scopus)


The building sector is the dominant energy consumer with a total 30% share of the overall energy consumption and accounts for one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Moreover, in recent years the energy demands for buildings have increased very rapidly due to increase in the growth rate of population and improvement in living standards of people. Furthermore, fossil fuels will continue to dominate the world's primary energy by 2030. Thus, the increase in energy demand, shortage of fossil fuels and environmental concerns has provided impetus to the development of sustainable building and renewable energy resources. Thermal energy storage is an efficient method for applying to building envelopes to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. This, in turn, reduces the environmental impact related to energy usage. The combination of construction materials and PCM is an efficient way to increase the thermal energy storage capacity of construction elements. Therefore, an extensive review on the incorporation of PCM into construction materials and elements by direct incorporation, immersion, encapsulation, shape-stabilization and form-stable composite PCMs is presented. For the first time, the differentiation between shape-stabilized and form-stable composite PCM has been made. Moreover, various construction materials such as diatomite, expanded perlite and graphite, etc. which are used as supports for form-stable composite PCM along with their worldwide availability are extensively discussed. One of the main aims of this review paper is to focus on the test methods which are used to determine the chemical compatibility, thermal properties, thermal stability and thermal conductivity of the PCM. Hence, the details related to calibration, sample preparation, test cell and analysis of test results are comprehensively covered. Finally, because of the renewed interest in integration of PCM in wallboards and concrete, an up-to-date review with focus on PCM enhanced wallboard and concrete for building applications is added.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-906
Number of pages37
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Building applications
  • Form-stable composite PCM
  • Phase change materials
  • Thermal energy storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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