The energy efficiency of buildings is today mostly improved by upgrading the energy performance of the building envelope and facilities. However, huge energy reductions can also be achieved by a focus on the novel systems enabling to cover natural energy fall-outs resulting from generation much excess heat during the peak time (summer, day) which is currently almost not possible to use during periods of excessive energy consumption (winter, night). This main drawback of the solar energy can be very efficiently solved by storing and later evolving of accumulated heat from solar gains according to the day-night as well as the seasonal, i.e. summer-winter cycle. A novel solution described in this contribution is an opportunity to reduce significantly the energy demands for heating/cooling and heating of Domestic Hot Water (DHW). The costs for construction and operation of future buildings are considerable reduced if the heat comfort is maintained by aluminium foam heating/cooling ceiling heat exchangers that allow storage of the heat in the form of latent heat of phase transition of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) impregnated in the porous structure of aluminium foam for later use or, for removal of undesirable heat to the building surroundings during comparatively colder summer nights.

Graphical Abstract

Highly efficient storage of solar gains using aluminum foam heat exchangers