Effect of Thermal Mass on the Cooling Load of a Well-Insulated Office Building with Radiant Cooling System

  • Rong HuEmail author
  • Jianlei Niu
Conference paper
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


The effects of thermal mass on the indoor environment and energy consumption of convective air systems (CASs) have been well studied. Few research refers to the corresponding effects in the zone with radiant heating/cooling system. This article aims to study the effects of thermal mass in external walls on the transmission load and energy performance in the spaces with active cooling surfaces, compared with those in identical rooms equipped only with equivalent CASs. This study is based on the investigation of energy performances in an assumed typical office building using the EnergyPlus simulation software. The weather conditions in four typical days during the cooling season in two cities (i.e., Beijing and Nanjing) are considered. The inside massive layer has positive effects on indoor temperature performance and instantaneous transmission load, but little impact on energy consumption. The peak cooling load in the zone with heavyweight can be shifted in a proper operation strategy. Although the cooling surface reduces the effect of thermal mass to radiation heat transfer and enhances the conduction heat gain, a structure with an inside massive layer is recommended in the zone with cooling surface.


Thermal mass Radiant cooling system Energy conservation 



The project is supported by Guangxi Natural Science Foundation (Number 2018JJB160098).


  1. 1.
    Design Standard for Energy Efficiency of Public Buildings (GB50189-2015), China Building Industry Press, Beijing, China (2015)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Balaras, C.A.: The role of thermal mass on the cooling load of buildings. An overview of computational methods. Energy Build. 24, 1–10 (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Al-Sanea, S.A., Zedan, M.F., Al-Hussain, S.N.: Effect of thermal mass on performance of insulated building walls and the concept of energy saving potential. Appl. Energy 89, 430–442 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tsilingiris, P.T.: The influence of heat capacity and its spatial distribution on the transient wall thermal behavior under the effect of harmonically time-varying driving forces. Build. Environ. 41, 590–601 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tsilingiris, P.T.: Parametric space distribution effects of wall heat capacity and thermal resistance on the dynamic thermal behavior of walls and structures. Energy Build. 38, 1200–1211 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Reilly, A., Kinnane, O.: The impact of thermal mass on building energy consumption. Appl. Energy 198, 108–121 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Aste, N., Angeotti, A., Buzzetti, M.: The influence of the external walls thermal inertia on the energy performance of well insulated buildings. Energy Build. 41, 1181–1187 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Verbeke, S., Audenaert, A.: Thermal inertia in buildings: a review of impacts across climate and building use. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 82, 2300–2318 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liu, X.H., Jiang, Y.: Temperature and Humidity Independent Control Air-Conditioning System. China Building Industry Press, Beijing, China (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Olsthoorn, D., Haghighat, F., Moreau, A., Lacroix, G.: Abilities and limitations of thermal mass activation for thermal comfort, peak shifting and shaving: a review. Build. Environ. 118, 113–127 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Niu, J.L., Kooi, J.V.D., Ree, H.V.D.: Energy saving possibilities with cooled-ceiling systems. Energy Build. 23, 147–158 (1995)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    ASHRAE, Handbook Fundamentals, SI ed., ASHRAE, Atlanta. GA, USA (2009)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hu, R., Niu, J.L.: Operation dynamics of building with radiant cooling system based on Beijing weather. Energy Build. 151, 344–357 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rhee, K.N., Kim, K.W.: A 50 year review of basic and applied research in radiant heating and cooling systems for the built environment. Build. Environ. 91, 166–190 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    ASHRAE, ASHRAE Handbook: Radiant heating and cooling, ASHRAE, Atlanta, GA, USA (2007)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture and Traffic EngineeringGuilin University of Electronic TechnologyGuangxiChina
  2. 2.Department of Building Services EngineeringThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongChina
  3. 3.School of Architecture, Design, and Planning, School of Civil EngineeringThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations