Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

A numerical study of daytime passive radiative coolers for space cooling in buildings


HVAC systems, numerical simulation, passive radiative cooling, space cooling, thermal radiation


A passive daytime radiative cooler is made of a sky facing surface which can preserve the indoor air temperature below ambient without energy consumption by simultaneously reflecting solar radiation and emitting thermal radiation to the universe through the atmospheric window located between 8–13 μm of the electromagnetic spectrum. After the first demonstration of radiative cooling under direct sunlight, a solar mirror coated with a mid-infrared (MIR) emissive thin film has become the standard device architecture. This study firstly reviews recent developments in daytime passive radiative cooling, followed by describing the development of an energy balance mathematical model to study the potential application of passive radiative coolers in HVAC systems of buildings. Some micro-channels are fabricated on the back side of the passive radiative cooler, allowing fluid to flow in an isolated loop such that the coolant can be chilled and transported to the demand side for spacing cooling. This leads to the partial replacement of conventional vapor compression refrigeration by the radiative cooling panel. Considering the steady state energy balance within the radiative cooling panel integrated HVAC systems, the cooling performance and indoor air temperature are evaluated by numerical analysis. A 100 m2 passive radiative cooling panel could chill water for the cooling of air, reducing indoor air temperature by 10 °C, equivalent to a net cooling power of 1600 W. This study suggests that the proposed passive radiative cooling system should be used to pre-cool the ambient hot air such that the overall energy consumption of a traditional air-conditioning system can be reduced. The findings promise the application of passive daytime radiative cooling in building HVAC systems.


Tsinghua University Press