research project

Of Local Interest

Howdy from the new center for Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research in Newbern, Alabama!

The team is fresh off their first presentation with reviewers Kim Clements and Joe Schneider. Kim and Joe are the founders of J.A.S. Design Build in Seattle, Washington. They helped the team develop a clearer way to explain the thermal mass and buoyancy ventilation theory.

The team reviewing the review on Monday morning.

Eventually, the team will be publishing a paper, with their partners at McGill University. The paper will aim to speak to architects and builders who could implement the thermal mass and buoyancy ventilation system in their buildings. Reviews with folks like Kim and Joe will help the team learn how to communicate best with the design and construction world.

The chosen materials, their components, and their processing

Besides preparing for their first presentation, the team has been working on material research. A crucial part of the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project is understanding the embodied energy of their construction materials. The team will study exactly what goes into the making of the materials from harvesting natural resources to transporting the finish material to the construction site. Timber, brick, rammed earth, and concrete are the materials the team are considering for the thermal masses. To limit energy lost to transportation and as an investment in Alabama, the team is investigating local material manufacturers within the state.

Speaking of local, here in Newbern, the Hurricane Lilies are still in bloom, Rural Studio students are stealing all the sunshine, and a shark must have been spotted downtown. From the T.M.B.V. Research Project Team to you, keep it real and real local!

Thermal Mass & Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project

Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project Team: Livia Barrett, Rowe Price, Cory Subasic, and Jeff Jeong

Greetings from newest Rural Studio Research Project with the longest name!

The Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project is testing a new theory that properly proportions an internal thermal mass to promote ventilation, thus moderating the temperature of the space. The team will use the theory to design, build, and test a building to understand how the proportional theory works in the field. The theory is the work of Salmaan Craig, an engineer, designer, and current professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The team will be working closely with Salmaan and his colleague at McGill, architect Kiel Moe. In addition to promoting ventilation, another goal of the thermal mass is to explore how it can incorporate other components of the building that are typically separated (i.e., structure and interior systems). The thermal mass itself will be made of only one material. Limiting the number of different materials in the projects allows the team to understand the emergy of each material being used.

Cory, Rowe, and Jeff have morning coffee with trusted consultant, Livia’s dog, Copper

First, the team will plan a large-scale project to understand the program and materials it will need. Next, a pod will be designed, built, and tested to act as a microcosm of the large-scale project to understand how the strategies perform. These results will inform the design and construction of the large-scale project as to best apply thermal mass and buoyancy ventilation.

Some key terms to help understand the T.M.B.V. Research Project:

  • Thermal Mass: The ability of a material to store heat during the day and radiate it slowly back at night.
  • Buoyancy Ventilation: Referred to as the “stack effect”; natural ventilation driven by the difference in exterior and interior air density resulting from temperature and moisture difference.
  • Emergy: The amount of energy that was consumed in direct and indirect transformations to make a product or service
Cory and Jeff help fill form work for the Mass Timber Breathing Wall Pod

The team has been researching materials and construction methods for building a thermal mass. They also got the chance to work with the Mass Timber Breathing Wall Research Project Team pouring concrete for their pod.

Stay tuned to learn more about the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project!

Please check out the paper, The optimal tuning, within carbon limits, of thermal mass in naturally ventilated buildings by Salmaan Craig to learn more about Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation. Find it here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132319305839