Thermal Mass

Thermal mass

Thermal mass has the ability to flatten out daily temperature fluctuations.

Thermal mass works in the colder months by absorbing heat energy from the sun during the day and slowly releasing this heat during the evening and night thus “flattening out” the day and night temperature fluctuations.

Store free energy from the sun and save on mechanical heating.

Ideal high density thermal mass materials include concrete, bricks, rammed earth, stone, tiles and water.

Thermal mass is also beneficial in summer. In summer, the interior of the house should be shaded. The thermal mass will stay cool and absorb any unwanted heat by conduction from the air. At night, this mass can be cooled by opening the house to the cool night air ready for the following day.

Lightweight construction such as timber frame with weatherboard or sheet cladding respond to temperature changes quickly. Shaded lightweight construction is better suited to very hot and humid tropical areas where it is hot day and night, and in other climatic areas for sleeping spaces and evening living rooms.

See Passive Solar Heating and Passive Cooling for more information on creating a comfortable home.

Diagram from http://www.yourhome.gov.au.

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