Improving Thermal Efficiency in Lightweight Construction: mass timber as thermal mass

Dr Mark Dewsbury, of the School of Architecture and Design UTAS, presented on a recently published FWPA funded project (PNA289-1213).

The research aimed  to obtain new data to inform opportunities to further improve the thermal efficiency of light-weight, timber framed, small to medium scaled buildings. The principle task of this project was to complete an empirical study assessing the measured thermal performance of mass-timber. 

This empirical study, within real buildings, could then be used to corroborate previous published building heating and cooling energy simulations, which had shown significant thermal performance benefit when mass-timber was substituted with standard framed systems, and concrete and clay brick thermal mass systems. 

In the evolving world of increased building regulation and an increasing market expectation for low energy homes there is a need to clearly and simply show how the renewable Australian timber resource can be used to provide thermally comfortable housing, whether they be located in the hot and humid climates of the North or the cooler Southern temperate climates.

Mark Dewsbury is a researcher and lecturer in the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Tasmania. He is particularly passionate about sustainability and has been involved in the sustainable design of commercial and residential buildings in the public and private sectors for more than 20 years. His research focuses on methods of building to improve the construction and thermal performance of Australian housing. 

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