Effectiveness of using phase change materials on reducing summer overheating issues in UK residential buildings with identification of influential factors

The UK is currently suffering great overheating issues in summer, especially in residential buildings where no air-conditioning has been installed. This overheating will seriously affect people’s comfort and even health, especially for elderly people. Phase change materials (PCMs) have been considered as a useful passive method, which absorb excessive heat when the room is hot and release the stored heat when the room is cool. This research has adopted a simulation method in Design Builder to evaluate the effectiveness of using PCMs to reduce the overheating issues in UK residential applications and has analyzed potential factors that will influence the effectiveness of overheating. The factors include environment-related (location of the building, global warming/climate change) and construction-related (location of the PCM, insulation, heavyweight/lightweight construction). This research provides useful evidence about using PCMs in UK residential applications and the results are helpful for architects and engineers to decide when and where to use PCMs in buildings to maintain a low carbon lifestyle.