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Feasibility of Using Wood Chips to Regulate Relative Humidity Inside a Building: A Numerical Study

Abstract : The use of bio-based materials in buildings has become more and more significant last years. In most of the cases, their health properties and natural provenance have made them a great solution to face global climate warming and the new policies to reduce building energy consumption. In many thermal problems, bio-based materials can allow to optimize the building thermal behavior according to its energy consumption and inside comfort conditions. So it is when they are used as an insulation material in the building. However, it is not the case in this paper. In fact, the bio-based matter is rather used as a desiccant wheel to control air conditioning inside the building. The aim of this paper is to numerically verify if it is possible to use a bed of wood chips as a hygroscopic material (or a desiccant matter) in order to modify the relative humidity inside the building in Reunion Island and so improve thermal comfort. A simple model of heat and mass transfer between a bed of wood chips and building inside air has been set up and implemented into a validated building simulation code named ISOLAB. Numerical simulations were set up for the four climate zones of the island regulations and a focus has been made on the low altitude one (with high, solar irradiation, temperature and relative humidity). Simulation results give the thermal behavior of the building particularly the temperature and relative humidity of inside air temperature, and temperature and moisture content of wood chips. The obtained results lead to determine if the wood chips bed is suitable for the reference building and to verify its technical feasibility (wood species, size of the bed, integration to the building, etc.). The results show that the use of a WCB help to decrease the building inside air temperature and water content up to 10°C less and 11.6 less. These are the ways to improve inside comfort conditions. Indeed, comfort analysis have shown the possibility to significantly increase building users’ thermal comfort when coupled with a fan and natural ventilation, like the regulation needs for low altitude climate. In this case, a gain of 68% of year time is achieved for a building equipped with WCB system compared to one without it (6308 hours of comfort over a year with the WCB against 350 hours without WCB). So the WCB seems to be able to help reducing cooling loads in tropical climate conditions.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 7:47:22 AM
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Dimitri Bigot, Cyril Ott, Stéphane Guichard, Bruno Malet-Damour. Feasibility of Using Wood Chips to Regulate Relative Humidity Inside a Building: A Numerical Study. Journal of Renewable Materials, Scrivener publishing, 2019, 7 (6), pp.505-516. ⟨10.32604/jrm.2019.04019⟩. ⟨hal-02368582⟩



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