Final Director, Former Brick Development Research Institute, Australia
Previously reported computer simulations of the thermal performance of a well oriented house, in either heavyweight full-brick or lightweight framed construction, demonstrated clearly that in those parts of Australia where hot days are followed by significantly cooler nights, thermal inertia associated with a conventional full-brick house with uninsulated walls provides better temperature comfort than does its well insulated lightweight equivalent.
Further research subsequently examined the performance of a more typical Australian house where orientation was not of prime consideration. The performance of that house was not as good as the earlier model, but the heavyweight full-brick version still significantly out-performed its lightweight timber framed alternative.
The author’s published results of the above research are briefly repeated in summary here to draw attention to the important fact that in the climate of most of Australia, the thermal inertia associated with the heat capacity of heavyweight full-brick construction without wall insulation produces better energy efficiency than does the common lightweight framed house with generous insulation in its walls.
In the present world situation where effort must be made to reduce carbon dioxide generation, it seems appropriate to again draw attention to heavyweight construction as an energy-efficient means of building houses, but regulating to make its use compulsory would be regarded as unreasonable. At present the Building Code of Australia deals with this matter by requiring insulation in walls unless they are built in something as heavyweight as full-brick. The alternative preferred here is for the Building Code to favour heavyweight construction and to mandate the insulation of
lightweight construction to help to compensate for its inferior thermal performance.