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Thermoelectric Materials in Exterior Walls: Experimental Study on Using Smart Facades for Heating and Cooling in High-Performance Buildings
Facade World Congress (2018)
  • Dr. Ajla Aksamija, University of Mass
  • Zlatan Aksamija
  • Christopher H Counihan
  • Dylan Brown
  • Meenakshi Upadhyaya
This article discusses design, prototype development and an experimental study of facade-integrated thermoelectric (TE) materials. TEs are smart materials that have the ability to produce a temperature gradient when electricity is applied, exploiting the Peltier effect, or to generate a voltage when exposed to a temperature gradient, utilizing the Seebeck effect. TEs can be used for heating, cooling, or power generation. In this research, heating and cooling potentials of these novel systems were explored. Initially, two low fidelity prototypes were designed and constructed, where one prototype was used to study integration of TE modules (TEM) as stand-alone elements in the facade, and one prototype was used to explore integration of TEMs and heat sinks in facade assemblies. Both prototypes were tested, in ambient conditions and within a thermal chamber. The thermal chamber was used to represent four different exterior environmental conditions (0°F, 30°F, 60°F and 90°F), while the interior conditions were kept constant at room temperature. The supplied voltage to facade-integrated TEMs varied from 1 to 8 V. Temperature outputs of TEMs for all investigated thermal conditions were measured using thermal imaging, which are discussed in detail in this article. The results indicate that while stand-alone facade-integrated TEMs are not stable, addition of heat sinks improves their performance drastically. Facade-integrated TEMs with heatsinks showed that they would operate well in heating and cooling modes under varying exterior environmental conditions.
  • Facade,
  • intelligent,
  • physical testing – mockups,
  • fabrication prototypes,
  • smart materials,
  • heating and cooling,
  • experimental,
  • thermal imaging
Publication Date
Citation Information
Ajla Aksamija, Zlatan Aksamija, Christopher H Counihan, Dylan Brown, et al.. "Thermoelectric Materials in Exterior Walls: Experimental Study on Using Smart Facades for Heating and Cooling in High-Performance Buildings" Facade World Congress Vol. 1 (2018) p. 171 - 180
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