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Impact of Mass Wood Walls on Building Energy Use, Peak Demand, and Thermal Comfort...

by Harri M Salonvaara, Emishaw D Iffa, Andre O Desjarlais, Jerald A Atchley
Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

Thermal mass moderates indoor temperatures, allowing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to operate more efficiently during peak hours. Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and other mass wood products provide thermal mass to the building envelope in a lighter and more environmentally friendly form than concrete. However, the influence of CLTs on heating and cooling energy, peak energy demand, and the indoor climate is not well-known. This project was formed to find the energy efficiency benefits of mass timber structures. The objectives were to (1) test the thermal performance of insulated mass wall structures in controlled laboratory conditions, (2) validate simulation models to expand performance to natural climatic conditions, (3) isolate the impact of the thermal properties of wood (thermal mass, thermal conductivity, moisture storage) on heating and cooling energy use and peak energy demand, and to optimize the performance. Currently, the designs used for CLT buildings have focused on structural and fire issues, and they do not consider the thermal mass benefits. Therefore, the thermal performance is not necessarily optimized.