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Research-related posts

New Phase Change Material textbook reference

posted May 13, 2015, 11:34 PM by Ella Wong

PCM-Enhanced Building Components: An Application of Phase Change Materials in Building Envelopes and Internal Structures. Jan Kosny. Springer. June 2015.
Chapter 5, Section 5.3.10 on TrekHaus PCM example.  Pages 163-164.

PSU Green Building Research Laboratory Articles/Presentations

posted Dec 27, 2013, 10:07 PM by Ella Wong   [ updated Apr 14, 2015, 10:46 AM ]

Rodriguez-Anderson, Santiago Martin, "Sensible Air to Air Heat Recovery Strategies in a Passive House" (2015). PSU Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2123.

Sage-Lauck, J.S., Sailor, D.J., "Evaluation of phase change materials for improving thermal comfort in a super-insulated residential building".  Energy and Buildings.  Vol. 79.  August 2014.  

Sailor, D.J., J. Lauck, and S. Rodriguez, 2013.  “In Situ Evaluation of vanguard technologies for high performance residential buildings", Paper No: HT2013-17528.  Proceedings of the ASME 2013 Summer Heat Transfer Conference, July 14-19, 2013, Minneapolis. 

Lauck, Jeffrey Stephen, "Evaluation of Phase Change Materials for Cooling in a Super-Insulated Passive House" (2013). PSU Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1444. 

Sailor, D.J., 2012.  "Proving Passive House Performance:  2 examples from Portland Oregon", Passive House Northwest 2012 Spring Conference, March 2, 2012, Portland.

Campbell, K.R., and Sailor, D.J., 2011. "Phase change materials as thermal storage for high performance homes", Paper no: IMECE2011-63273.  Proceedings of the 2011 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, IMECE 2011, Nov. 11-17, Denver. 

Campbell, Kevin Ryan, "Phase Change Materials as a Thermal Storage Device for Passive Houses" (2011). PSU Dissertations and Theses. Paper 201. 




PSU's Green Building Research Lab presents poster at Oregon BEST FEST

posted Sep 14, 2013, 3:44 PM by Ella Wong

PSU graduate student Santiago Rodriguez presents poster on Evaluating Technologies for High Performance Residential Buildings at Oregon BEST FEST, September 11 & 12, 2013.  Get a glimpse of the poster here...

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The gadget spec URL could not be found


Students pitch TrekHaus & wind turbines at 2013 International Capstone Design Contest on Renewable Energy Technology

posted Feb 12, 2013, 9:36 PM by Ella Wong   [ updated Feb 13, 2013, 10:55 AM ]

Last month, graduate students from Portland State University’s Green Building Research Lab participated in the 2013 International Capstone Design Contest On Renewable Energy Technology (CORE 2013) in Mokpo, South Korea.  Two of the PSU presentations raised considerable interest in the design of high performance Passive Homes.  Jeff Lauck’s presentation on phase change material (PCM) being studied at TrekHaus won a gold award.  Santiago Rodriguez’s presentation looked into energy performance characteristics of cutting-edge technologies being used at TrekHaus.  Nicholas Hamilton earned silver for his work on wind turbine simulations.  Get the full scoop in Portland State Vanguard article, Students pitch top ideas in Korea: TrekHaus and wind turbine simulations earn gold and silver.

Photo of Santiago Rodriguez working on data acquisition system by Miles Sanguinetti.

Here's a peek at a couple of the poster presentations...


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The gadget spec URL could not be found

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The gadget spec URL could not be found

PSU Lab Specializes In Testing Green Building Products

posted Dec 15, 2011, 1:26 AM by Ella Wong

Dave Sailor, director of PSU's Green Building Research lab, talks about the testing being done at our TrekHaus duplex in this OPB News article- "PSU Lab Specializes in Testing Green Building Products".   Also learn about the testing of Indow Windows, inserts which block cold winter drafts.

TrekHaus research project with PSU on KATU news

posted Dec 15, 2011, 1:08 AM by Ella Wong   [ updated Dec 15, 2011, 7:08 PM ]



A special Green Living news segment on KATU- TV features TrekHaus collaboration with researchers and engineering students from the Green Building Research Lab at Portland State University.  KATU meets the research team at the lab to learn about passive house construction and the phase change material that has been integrated into the "test" side of the TrekHaus duplex to improve energy efficiency and thermal comfort...and then goes on a field trip to visit the TrekHaus site.

The students get a great hands-on opportunity to study and monitor building performance, and to learn about highly energy efficient passive house design.

To view PSU link, click here.

YouTube Video






TrekHaus research team presents poster at Oregon BEST FEST '11!

posted Sep 12, 2011, 10:32 PM by Ella Wong   [ updated Sep 19, 2011, 8:45 AM ]


Just for science nerds who like poster sessions...
Abstract:   Integrating Phase Change Materials in Passive House Construction for Improved Thermal Comfort
K. Campbell, S. Rodriguez, S. Gross, C. Parroco , and D. Sailor, Portland State University, sailor@cecs.pdx.edu, 503-725-4265
This poster presents an overview of an ongoing project that seeks to understand the potential for improving thermal comfort in homes built to the passive house standard by incorporating phase change materials (PCM). A key characteristic of PCM for building applications is the ability to store heat in the form of latent heat associated with the melting of the PCM (usually a wax-like material) at room temperature. The PCM, which is generally encased either in micro or macro encapsulation packets, charges (solidifies) during the cooler evening hours, and discharges (melts) during the warm daytime hours. This process reduces the number of hours outside of thermal comfort for buildings without mechanical air conditioning and reduces energy use for buildings with air conditioning. The specific project discussed here revolves around an actual passive house duplex being constructed in SE Portland. We have used whole building simulation to optimize the phase change transition temperature, quantity of material, and placement location within the building. PCM is installed in one side of the duplex with the other side used as a control. The duplex will be extensively monitored to quantify thermal comfort, sub-metered energy use, and other parameters. Modeling and measurement results will be presented.

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White roofs and light-colored pavements can offset carbon emissions & cool the world!

posted Aug 22, 2011, 11:49 AM by Ella Wong   [ updated Aug 22, 2011, 1:23 PM ]

Cool white roofs not only save cooling costs in the summer, but they help offset carbon dioxide emissions.  White roofs and light colored pavements reflect sunlight directly back into space.  Dark surfaces reflect less and radiate heat which gets trapped in the atmosphere by the greenhouse effect.  Listen to what Energy Secretary Steven Chu has to say about the benefits of cool roofs and light-colored pavements.  

YouTube Video

According to Dr. Art Rosenfeld and colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the offset in carbon emissions from replacing the world's roofs and pavements with reflective white and light-colored surfaces is "roughly equivalent to taking the world's approximately billion cars off the road for 11 years."

Cool white roofs work best in hot sunny climates and may not be a good choice for colder climates.  To determine whether your home or building might benefit from a cool roof, you can estimate potential cost and energy savings by using the DOE Cool Roof Calculator or this Roof Savings Calculator developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.




Student volunteers needed to help researchers make fuels from sunlight!

posted Aug 20, 2011, 8:55 PM by Ella Wong   [ updated Sep 12, 2011, 11:13 PM ]

The Department of Energy is funding a Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub to help develop ways to mimic a leaf's photosynthetic ability to capture the sun's energy and convert it to chemical fuel.  The trick is to do this sustainably using safe earth-abundant materials.  More than 400 high school and college student volunteers (see map below) are helping researchers screen for earth-abundant metal-oxides that help turn sunlight and water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen.  Platinum catalysts which can be used to split water with sunlight are expensive and getting hard to come by.  To do this sustainably, the students and researchers are looking for inexpensive earth-abundant components like cobalt, nickel, and iron to catalyze the conversion.  This article, "The Sunshine General", from the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of Caltech's E & S publication describes how students can help in the discovery process using a screening kit called SHArK (Solar Hydrogen Activity Research Kit).  Students interested in participating can check out the Caltech Solar Materials Discovery Project and view the materials database being generated by students involved in this distributed research effort.


In Portland, three schools have been SHArK participants- Portland State University, Reed College, and Lewis & Clark College.  Let's go SHArKs!

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Why go solar?

posted Aug 20, 2011, 8:48 PM by Ella Wong   [ updated Aug 22, 2011, 7:49 AM ]

If you want to get off of fossil fuel, what are you going to use to power your new slim energy-fit lifestyle?  This graph shows world power generation potential (based on what we can practically get with current technology) from solar and other renewables.

These numbers are from smart guys at Caltech and MIT.  Other researchers have reported a little higher numbers for wind...but even so, who's the overwhelming winner? 

Take advantage of any renewable sources that are suited to your specific location...but globally, let's go solar!


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