1) MSc Student, Instituto Superior Técnico, UL, DECivil/ICIST,

2) Assistant Professor, Instituto Superior Técnico, UL, DECivil/ICIST,

3) Assistant Professor, Universidade de Évora, Departamento de Arquitectura,


To improve and modernize the earth construction is essential to spread its application. Despite of its high thermal inertia, the thermal resistance of the earth is usually not able to meet the requirements of thermal building regulations and that is one of the main obstacles in applying this technique.

In this study, the results of in situ measurement campaigns, carried out during the summer and winter periods, are presented. They were performed on two different single-family dwellings located in Abrantes, Portugal. These dwellings were built using the rammed-earth technique, each one having walls with 50-55 cm of thickness. Several experimental measurements were conducted in order to evaluate the rammed-earth wall thermal behavior, such as: the incident global radiation on vertical plane of the facade; indoor and outdoor environment temperatures and moisture; indoor and outdoor surfaces wall temperatures; and heat fluxes. Moreover, walls’ thermal conductivity, volumetric heat capacity and thermal diffusivity were also obtained using a portable measuring instrument.

The experimental results revealed a large thermal inertia of the walls, which led to low indoor temperatures in both seasons. The results also demonstrate the need to improve the thermal conductivity of the earth in order to meet the requirements of the building regulations.


Keywords: rammed-earth walls, in situ measurement, thermal conductivity