Experimental performance evaluation of a convective thermoelectric building envelope for building heating and cooling

by Xiaoli Liu, Kazuaki Yazawa, Ming Qu, Orkan Kurtulus, Brian Norton, Niall Holmes, Ruchita Jani, Jorge Kohanoff, Lorenzo Stella, Conrad Johnston, Hongxi Yin


The thermoelectric building envelope (TBE) integrates thermoelectric materials with the building envelope for active space heating and cooling. The advantage of TBE heating and cooling includes its significantly low-profile design and no refrigerant use. Although there are existing studies evaluating TBE performance, they were based on limited operating conditions. The study aims to experimentally evaluate the heating and cooling performance of a TBE prototype under various operating conditions. The TBE prototype was installed between two psychrometric chambers, which simulated indoor and outdoor conditions. The prototype was tested at an indoor temperature of around 22.35–23.58 °C and outdoor temperatures from −7.35 °C and 16.99 °C for heating and from 28.36 °C to 40.95 °C for cooling, with varied power inputs and fan conditions. The maximum coefficient of performance (COP) of TBE in heating mode is 3.2. The average heating COP of TBE with a current of 1.5 A in four winter scenarios is 1.37. The average heating COP of TBE operating with the current of 0.3–1.5 A at an outdoor temperature of 12 °C is 2.27. The TBE system demonstrates a better heating efficiency than an auxiliary electric heater for the heat pump system. The experimental results and evaluation obtained provide critical guidance for the deployment of TBE applications.

Published in: Energy and Buildings, Volume 273, 15 October 2022, 112376