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Precast Concrete Sandwich Panels – Answers to CPD Questions

If you have recently attended a Continuing Professional Development seminar run by CGS regarding thermal mass and its use in Architecture, answers to the questionnaire can be found here.

For the buildings of the future, it is imperative that all stakeholders in the building process better and further understand the implications of proper insulation on comfort, energy efficiency and long term costs and value of a well insulated building. THERMOMASS concrete sandwich panels are a cost-effective way to not just satisfy the BCA but to create a high value building.

From the presentation and discussion, complete the following.

Ware the three options for dealing with radiant heat entering a building envelope?

 1. Do nothing

 2. Attempt to mechanically change the temperature by air conditioning, refridgerative or heating.

 3. Use the mass in the building to store the energy. This means in winter rooms stay warmer for longer. In summer, the air temperature is “protected” from radiant heat load by the mass. When the ambient temperature drops, ventilation can remove stored heat.  


 List some of the benefits of working with concrete sandwich panels.

Accelerated building time

Less time and trades on site

Versatility of design

Durability of structure, low maintenance structure.

Ability to use thermal mass if used correctly.


 Briefly explain the movement of heat energy when the interior and ambient temperatures are not the same:

Energy and heat are like most natural systems – they tend toward equilibrium. Energy as heat will cross a barrier between two spaces from an area of higher energy concentration to lower energy until the two temperatures are the same.

In some systems, eg cars – the heat radiation changes frequency and cannot radiate back out through the glass.


How can an interior with significant mass contribute to a more comfortable environment?

In a room with no mass, radiant heat enters a room and heats the air. As the heat has nowhere to go and as such the temperature in the room increases as long as there is a radiant load on the room and the entry point.

With an amount of mass, as there are more molecules packed in a dense substance, there is a large amount of “storage space” for the heat entering the room. The difference in density and mass between concrete and air is so significant that the temperature in the room is moderated and kept more constant over the diurnal swings.


What is the most efficient way to cool a room in the evening following a hot day?

If the ambient temperature is lower – ventilation is by far the quickest and most efficient way to cool a room. Well designed buildings with automatic or convenient ventilation, access to outside air to flow through and carry heat radiating out of any mass in the interior.

 What are the three main benefits of concrete sandwich panels and some of the crucial factors in deciding on a CSP system?

1.    Thermal mass effect – far superior thermal performance

2.    Accelerated building program – built and insulated at the same time.

3.    Cost neutrality

The single most important factor when choosing a concrete sandwich panel system is the connectors. Are they compatible with concrete chemically and thermally? Will they cause thermal bridging? Will they have the same expansion-contraction profile as concrete? Do they have a number of studies and years of observation, testing and third party evaluations for quality control? A well made concrete sandwich panel will serve for over 100 years.