Variable density concrete walls engineered for energy performance
This paper investigates the energy performance of variable density concrete wall panels that combine the thermal insulation of a layer of lightweight concrete with the thermal mass of a layer of structural concrete. The effect of layer thickness and thermal conductivity on wall energy performance is assessed by determining the equivalent U-factors of different wall panel designs at eight temperate locations. The analysis indicates that variable density concrete panels can be engineered to achieve net-zero wall energy performance, although heat may have to be actively added to a panel in order to achieve this level of performance at cool locations. A simulation analysis of the energy performance of a house constructed with variable density wall panels is conducted using the ESP-r simulation program. This analysis indicates that variable density concrete wall panels are suitable for use in netzero energy houses, especially in warm temperate locations.