A review on phase change material (PCM) for sustainable passive cooling in building envelopes

Hussein Akeiber, Payam Nejat, Muhd Zaimi Abd Majid, Mazlan A. Wahid, Fatemeh Jomehzadeh, Iman Zeynali Famileh, John Kaiser Calautit, Ben Richard Hughes, Sheikh Ahmad Zaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

731 Citations (Scopus)


The most significant threat that mankind faces in the 21th century is global warming. Buildings, which account for 40% of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, play a pivotal role in global warming. Estimates show that their destructive impact will grow by 1.8% per year through 2050, which indicates that future consumption and emissions will be worse than today. Therefore, the impact of cooling systems cannot be ignored, as they, along with ventilation and heating systems, account for 60% of the energy consumed in buildings. Passive cooling techniques are a promising alternative to conventional cooling systems. Of the various passive cooling strategies, thermal energy storage by means of latent heat is an efficient way to increase the thermal inertia of building envelopes, which would reduce temperature fluctuations, leading to the improved thermal comfort of occupants. Phase change materials (PCMs) with high density for thermal energy storage can be efficiently employed to this purpose. This paper reviews recent studies of the application of PCMs for passive cooling in buildings. From the literature, a comprehensive list of different organic, inorganic and eutectic PCMs appropriate for passive cooling in buildings are reviewed. Full-scale testing and numerical modeling were found to be the most popular investigative methods used for experimental and theoretical analysis of PCMs. The combination of these two methods can provide a detailed and valid technique for PCM investigations. Finally, incorporating PCMs into building walls with macro encapsulation was also a dominant interest in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1470-1497
Number of pages28
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • building
  • envelope
  • nano material
  • passive cooling
  • phase change material (PCM)
  • thermal energy storage


Dive into the research topics of 'A review on phase change material (PCM) for sustainable passive cooling in building envelopes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this