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PCM express

PCM – Planning- and Simulation Program for the Use of Phase Change Materials (PCM)


PCM express is a planning and simulation program for buildings using phase change materials (PCM). It aims to support architects and planners in planning by facilitating reliable decision-making in dimensioning the system and by speeding up the market launch of PCMs.

In this respect, PCM express provides users with a simple method of defining a PCM system. This includes the use of PCMs in wall structures and changes in the associated mains services. In particular, the low-energy approach is to be supported in the form of activated building components (panel heating, cooling areas) and energy-saving cooling techniques. Depending on the situation, the use of PCMs may be justified by the increased level of comfort provided (private houses with wellness requirements) or by economic considerations (office buildings). Both strategies are supported by the program, through the use of menus, predefined usage profiles and adapted presentation of the results.


PCM express was created in connection with the research project "Development of a user-friendly planning and simulation program in the combined project 'Active PCM storage systems for Building PCM Active' ", which we ran in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg and partners from industry. We would like to thank the BMWi (German Ministry for Business and Technology), which made it possible for us to carry out the work and supported it under FKZ 0327370S and 0327370F-K and the project sponsor Jülich for its support.

System Requirements

PCM englisch

  • Internet Access
  • Processor: 1,5 GHz Pentium PC
  • Memory: 512 MB
  • Hard Disk Drive: 50 MB
  • Monitor Resolution: at least 1.024 x 768 pixel
  • Operating System: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (not working for 64-bit-systems)
  • Graphics: 64 MB

Program Details

Use of PCMs

The use of PCMs can reduce or prevent a room overheating for a day. The cooling load is deflected from the high daytime temperatures into the night times with a reduction in the peak capacity of the cold generators. This means that cooling systems based on natural heat reduction (night air, earth) can be used.

Various options are available for the regeneration of the PCMs. Manual window opening by users, automatic summer night ventilation if there is a ventilation system or cooling of the PCM layers by mats supplied with cooling water that are integrated into the layers (panel activation).

Calculation core and algorithms

PCM express has a component-oriented calculation core with time stages less than six minutes. The program includes Europe-wide meteodata sets for radiation and temperature, broken down by hours, which are evaluated for heating, cooling and the room models. Cold can be incorporated via cooled incoming air and cooling panels. Possible generators: compression cold, earth probes, earth collectors and heat exchangers. Radiators and panel heaters can be used for heating.


Room parameters

Up to three rooms can be grouped into a room combination. Heat is exchanged between these rooms through the walls. For the rooms, the room geometry and the inner gains and air change rate are requested. For the walls, a wall structure is selected and the windows defined. For the PCM system, the wall structures can be defined independently, i.e. the materials and surface activation of the wall structures can be different. The rooms and layers of the wall structures are mapped in a node model. For the PCM layers, temperature-related characteristic curves are used for the capacity (according to the RAL Quality Requirements for PCM).

Calculation of economic efficiency

The algorithms of the comparative economic efficiency calculation are based on the provisions of VDI 2067. The aim of the economic efficiency analysis is to justify the additional costs of investing in a PCM system compared with the reference system by the lower operating and consumption costs.


The results are presented in project reports for the customer and planner and clear illustrations showing a comparison of the systems:

  • Operative room temperatures applied across a varying outside temperature according to EN 15251
  • Frequency distribution of the room temperatures
  • Daily progress charts with the highest PCM effects
  • Heating and cooling energies
  • Illustrated evaluations for calculating economic efficiency
  • Report for presentation to customers with central inputs and results
  • Report for expert documentation of all requirements and results
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