What is Thermal Mass Storage?
A thermal mass storage system utilizes the second law of thermodynamics where heat from one region flows to a colder region. An example of this is concrete pavement absorbing the heat from the sun during the day, and at night radiating the heat into the cooler night air until temperature equilibrium is reached. In a home the system consists of concrete walls and floors which are insulated on the exterior to prevent the transfer of heat with the outdoor air. The interior surfaces of the floor and walls are exposed as much as possible so that they are in contact with the conditioned air inside of the home.
How does John Wesley Miller Build with Thermal Mass Storage?
A pioneer of sustainable, green building, John not only birthed the vision of Tucson’s sustainable Civano community, he also was the General Contractor and Energy Consultant for the Biosphere 2 project. More recently, John built the Vision House Tucson in downtown Armory Park del Sol, a home built with Thermal Mass Storage:
- Concrete blocks are filled with concrete and rebar is used for structural reinforcement (both vertically and horizontally).
- The concrete walls are then wrapped with a 2-inch layer of a polyisocyanurate insulation.
- Stucco netting is placed on the polyiso foam sheathing along with three coats of stucco. The exterior is then finished with paint.
Why Use Thermal Mass?
In summer you can pre-cool the thermal mass of the walls and floors during off-peak hours at night. As the temperatures increase during the day the cool thermal mass will absorb the heat keeping the indoor air temperature stable. During the winter season the system works in reverse, as the daytime temperatures increase the walls and floor absorb the heat and as the temperature drops at night, the heat from the thermal mass is released into the air.
"We must elevate the term "green builder" and give it new meaning. Doing so will be a major step toward the recognition of our role as environmentalists.
— John Wesley Miller
John Wesley Miller Companies
A national leader in energy conservation and green building practices.
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