Understanding Thermal Mass In Hot Humid Climates – Stearns Design Build

Brazos Home

Here in College Station and Bryan we have a very hot and humid climate, which presents a unique set of design and construction challenges.  For one, traditional approaches to thermal mass walls are out for us. However, this potentially beautiful design approach is not necessarily a bad idea; if we modify its application from what is traditional.

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Thermal mass is thick, highly dense material that includes stone, adobe and structural brick.  The idea is that through the hot day, heat does not penetrate the full depth of the thermal mass. Then, at night the outside temperature cools down enough to pull the heat out of the wall so that the process can start over the next day.  Yet, because our humidity is high, we do not cool down enough at night to pull the heat out of the wall. Consequently, over time the wall serves to heat the building.

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