A three-stage thermoelectric building envelope for cooling: design, prototyping, and experimental evaluation
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. TBE can provide cooling or heating to indoor space if power is applied. TBE-based cooling or heating is quiet and reliable and has low maintenance cost, low or no CO2 emission. TBE is conducive to the operation of net-zero energy and emission buildings by using renewable and low-grade energy. In this study, a multi-stage TBE prototype 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 test result concludes that the highest COP of TBE is 0.46–2.4 in summer scenarios for different power inputs. The findings discussed can guide the design and operation of TBE.