Performance Assessment of Integrated Building Envelopes Using Thermoelectric Modules for Temperature Regulation
A thermoelectric building envelope (TBE) is a new type of active building envelope that incorporates thermoelectric material in the building's enclosure. In TBE, the electrical energy and thermal energy can transfer between them through thermoelectric material. As a result, TBE can provide cooling or heating to indoor space if power is applied. TBE-based cooling or heating has high reliability and a low maintenance cost, low CO2 emission, and no refrigerant use. TBE is conducive to the operation of net-zero energy and greenhouse gas emission buildings by using renewable energy. In this study, a multi-stage TBE prototype for space heating and cooling was designed, assembled, and tested. The performance of the TBE prototype was evaluated in two psychrometric chambers with controlled temperature and humidity in Herrick Laboratory at Purdue University. The performance was analyzed, including the surface and air temperatures, cooling capacity, and COP defined as the ratio of cooling capacity to the power input. The test result indicated that the COP of TBE in summer scenarios ranged from 0.46 to 2.4 with varied power inputs. The cooling capacity of one prototype can exceed 6.3 kW/cm2. The findings discussed can guide the design and operation of TBE.