The present investigation addresses the issue of thermal insulation of building walls. In particular, the case of a wall subjected to Mediterranean climatic conditions, typical for the city of Genoa (Italy), is taken into account. A comparison between a polyurethane and a PCM layer with a thickness of 4 cm is proposed. The analysis is developed numerically by implementing a finite elements model of the wall in Comsol Multiphysics. The wall is subjected to real climatic conditions extracted from historical meteorological data and the thermal demand for heating and cooling is estimated. Both the polyurethane and the PCM have positive performances. In particular, polyurethane is more effective in reducing the heating demand, whereas PCM has better performances in reducing the cooling demand. A brief introduction to the life cycle analysis is also provided with the estimation of the energy pay-back for the two insulators and the results highlight better performance for the PCM, even though the pay-back periods of the two are quite similar.
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