There has been no research to date exploring whether timber products can provide effective thermal capacitance in residential or commercial construction. This research is exploring the use of unique mass-timber products to provide a new form of thermal performance capacitance within the built fabric of new and existing homes. The development of mass timber products is a new paradigm in material and building science research in Australia, requiring the accounting for carbon emissions, carbon sequestration, material embodied energy and material thermal properties for this renewable resource. This paper focuses on the results from preliminary building simulation studies encompassing house energy rating simulations and a comparative analysis of embodied energy and carbon storage for a series of house plans in Australia.
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.