During the day the sun heats first the air in the space between the panel and glass, then the PCM inside the panel absorbs heat and changes from solid to liquid. The heat is stored as latent heat. Once the air in the space is heated it rises and enters into the room. The upward air movement pulls the cool air from the room and the Trombe Wall heats it. The cycle continues as a natural phenomenon. The PCM inside the Trombe Wall increases the capability of the Trombe Wall to absorb heat with a light construction and release/absorption of heat takes place at a constant temperature. The Phase Change Energy storage technology is promising technology towards energy saving through energy storage and provides a sustainable method for temperature control.
The Solar Homestead is designed with a slide door on the outside of the glass window that is closed during summer to avoid unwanted heat gain.
The Solar Homestead is Appalachian State University's entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. Inspired by the pioneer spirit of the early settlers in the mountain region of North Carolina, they have designed a self-sustaining zero energy home.