Building Simulation

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 331–338 | Cite as

Thermal performance of a mobile home with light envelope

  • Nicola Cardinale
  • Pietro Stefanizzi
  • Gianluca RospiEmail author
  • Valentina Augenti
Research Article Architecture and Human Behavior


The present work analyzes, through in situ measurements, the environmental parameters of a mobile home (camper type van) characterized by a light envelope, located in Southern Italy. Through dynamic simulation, using EnergyPlus software, a few strategies to improve the inside conditions are then proposed and verified. The solution that best improves the indoor microclimate is forced ventilation combined with shading providing by simple roofing. Three envelope solutions were also analyzed: a low thermal mass (polyurethane foam), a high thermal mass (phase change material, PCM), and a medium thermal mass (mixture of polyurethane foam and PCM) solution. The material that improves the inside conditions appears to be the high thermal mass solution (pure PCM), while the mixture of polyurethane and PCM has a performance similar to that of pure polyurethane.


mobile home light envelope PCM dynamic energy simulation comfort indexes 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmad M, Bontemps A, Sallèe H, Quenard D (2006). Thermal testing and numerical simulation of a prototype cell using light wallboards coupling vacuum isolation panels and phase change material. Energy and Buildings, 38: 673–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akbari H, Bretz S, Kurn DM, Hanford J (1997a). Peak power and cooling energy savings of high-albedo roofs. Energy and Buildings, 25: 117–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akbari H, Bretz S, Kurn DM, Hanford J (1997b). Peak power and cooling energy savings of shade trees. Energy and Buildings, 25: 139–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Born FJ, Clarke JA, Johnstone CM (2001). Development and demonstration of a renewable energy based energy demand/supply decision support tool for the building design profession. In: Proceedings of the 7th International IBPSA Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Google Scholar
  5. Cerne B, Medved S (2005). The dynamic thermal characteristics of lightweight building elements with a forced ventilated cavity and radiation barriers. Energy and Buildings, 37: 972–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Dear RJ, Brager GS (1998). Developing an adaptive model of thermal comfort and preference. ASHRAE Transactions, 104(1): 145–167.Google Scholar
  7. DesignBuilder (2008). DesignBuilder software Ltd, version 1.9
  8. EnergyPlus (2001). Energy Technologies Program, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy.
  9. Feng G, Liang R, Li G (2006). Research on cool storage time of a phase change wallboard room in the summer. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference for Enhanced Building Operations, Shenzhen, China.Google Scholar
  10. ISO 9869 (1994). Thermal insulation — Building elements — In-situ measurement of thermal resistance and thermal transmittance.Google Scholar
  11. Koschenz M, Lehmann B (2004). Development of a thermally activated ceiling panel with PCM for application in lightweight and retrofitted buildings. Energy and Buildings, 36: 567–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Richardson MJ, Woods AW (2008). An analysis of phase change material as thermal mass. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 464: 1029–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Shilei LZ, Zhu N, Feng G (2006). Impact of phase change wall room on indoor thermal environment in winter. Energy and Buildings, 38(1): 18–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. UNI EN ISO 7726 (2002). Ergonomics of the thermal environment — Instruments for measuring physical quantities.Google Scholar
  15. UNI EN ISO 7730 (2006). Ergonomics of the thermal environment — Analytical determination and interpretation of thermal comfort using calculation of the PMV and PPD indices and local thermal comfort criteria.Google Scholar
  16. van Hoof J, Hensen JLM (2007). Quantifying of relevance of adaptive thermal comfort models in moderate thermal climate zones. Building and Environment, 42: 156–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Von Grabe J, Winter S (2008). The correlation between PMV and dissatisfaction on the basis of the ASHRAE and the McIntyre scale — Towards an improved concept of dissatisfaction. Indoor and Built Environment, 17: 103–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wang J, Carson JK, North MF, Cleland DJ (2008). A new structural model of effective thermal conductivity for heterogeneous material with co-continuous phases. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 51: 2389–2397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Williamson TJ (1995). A confirmation technique for thermal performance simulation models. In: Proceedings of the 7th International IBPSA Conference, Madison, USA.Google Scholar
  20. You M, Zhang X, Wang J (2009). Polyurethane foam containing microencapsulated phase-change materials with styrenedivinybenzene co-polymer shells. Journal of Materials Science, 44: 3141–3147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zhu N, Ma Z, Wang S (2009). Dynamic characteristics and energy performance of buildings using phase change materials: A review. Energy Conversion and Management, 50: 3169–3181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zhuang C, Deng A, Chen Y, Li S, Zhang H, Fan G (2010). Validation of veracity on simulating the indoor temperature in PCM light weight building by EnergyPlus. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 6328: 486–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Cardinale
    • 1
  • Pietro Stefanizzi
    • 2
  • Gianluca Rospi
    • 1
  • Valentina Augenti
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Engineering and Environmental Physics, Faculty of ArchitectureUniversity of BasilicataMateraItaly
  2. 2.Department of Architecture and Town Planning (DAU)Politecnico di BariBariItaly

Personalised recommendations