Thermal mass and insulation for temperate climates

This note was reviewed and approved for currency in August 2018.

Insulation and thermal mass are highly effective ways to reduce energy use and improve comfort in buildings. Insulation reduces the rate or speed of heat transfer through a building facade while thermal mass stores heat and thus creates a lag between internal and external temperatures.

Used correctly, both are instrumental in stabilising internal temperatures, isolating internal temperatures from outside and decreasing heating and cooling requirements.

Used incorrectly, both can at best be ineffective and at worst reduce comfort or pose significant safety risks.

note summary
  1. Introduction
  2. Thermal mass and insulation
  3. Using thermal mass
  4. Design considerations
  5. Building type/form
  6. Insulation type
  7. R values
  8. Thermal bridging
  9. Other building elements
  10. Installation
  11. Conclusion