HOME >> CASE STUDIES >> UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
This premiere project was designed to take full advantage of the naturally occurring diurnal temperature swings which are a part of everyday life in the Pacific Northwest. The innovative building design included a phase change component engineered to take advantage of those temperature swings, allowing the material to dissipate the heat collected during the day and eliminate the need for traditional mechanical cooling.
The greatest challenge for this project was to determine the optimal temperature and volume of phase change material to effectively dissipate the Btu load of the structure. The final design required 2 pounds of phase change material per square foot to maintain the temperature at the required levels.
In concert with Phase Change Energy Solutions, the design team determined the correct temperature and volume of phase change material. The material, Phase Change Energy Solutions’ ENRG Blanket, was placed in cavities above each floor where it could absorb the heat from solar gain, electronics and people. At night, the damper system activates mechanical louvers which work in conjunction with ventilation fans. This system pulls the cool outside air over the ENRG Blanket, allowing it to release the heat absorbed during the day and exhaust it outside. This process allows the ENRG Blanket to recharge, allowing it to absorb the excess heat of the following day.
This innovative design concept works exceptionally well. The resulting performance allowed the design firm to build a structure without traditional air conditioning. The occupants of the building are comfortable, even as building occupancy loads have grown beyond the original design expectation. The energy savings are estimated at $70,000 per year providing a fast ROI for the university.