Tag Archives: Thermal mass

Energy-efficient Design with Masonry Construction

Photo courtesy Richard Filloramo

Masonry materials and wall systems, with their inherent thermal mass characteristics, provide designers with many options to achieve energy-efficient designs. This article illustrates examples of wall configurations that exceed national building code requirements and high-performance standards, taking into account factors like increased R-values for non-mass opaque walls (prescriptive design), continuous insulation, requirements for R-value reductions caused by thermal bridging, mandatory continuous air barriers, and options for building energy design.

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Designing Masonry Buildings to the 2012 Energy Code: Thermal Mass Basics

A material’s thermal mass denotes its ability to store heat within a cycle of time. K-values, generally calculated on a 24-hour cycle, are important because they give general references to a material’s capabilities for storing heat. All materials may be considered for use in a thermal mass calculation, but steel, aluminum, and other metal claddings tend to cycle too quickly, while wood tends to cycle too slowly to offer desirable design values.

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Designing Masonry Buildings to the 2012 Energy Code

All images courtesy Mortar Net Solutions

The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will bring tremendous change to the way buildings are designed, constructed, and renovated. For example, the insulation requirements for masonry construction have been written to higher performance levels. The prescriptive energy code for the masonry industry is based primarily on the requirement for continuous insulation (ci) within the wall envelope. This becomes an issue when one looks at the standard concrete masonry unit.

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