The Concrete Initiative - thermal mass

Brede School Zuidhorn

Brede School Zuidhorn is a community school used for primary education (public and private), after-school care activities, sports, physical therapy and facilities for assisted living and working. During the design of the building, much attention has been paid to the different functions and to the different users of the building. The various program components are cleverly combined in a lens-shaped floor plan. Open spaces and squares connect the spaces and floors with each other.

CO2 and the built environment - The positive role of concrete

Concrete is a versatile, durable and resilient building material that is locally available across Europe. What is more, concrete buildings can deliver the lowest overall CO2 impact.  This is because, in order to realistically quantify the CO2 tag of a construction material such as concrete, it is important to look at the whole-life impact.  This includes extraction of raw materials, production & transport, building in use, lifetime and durability, and end of life.

Energy efficient & low CO2 buildings with concrete

The review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) provides us with an opportunity to raise the bar in terms of reducing the impact of buildings across Europe by making them more energy efficient. Whilst stakeholders agree that the existing Directive, dating back to 2010, has increased awareness about the importance of this issue,  experience in using the Directive has provided us with some food for thought as to how it could be further improved. With this in mind, the concrete sector has outlined the areas which it would like to see tackled and prioritised.

Energy producing, storing and supplying buildings

According to a paper published by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) on 29 June 2016, buildings can play a very important role in a decarbonised energy system.  This is because buildings are increasingly capable of producing, storing and supplying energy, which allows for a more flexible, and less fossil-fuel based system. 

Energy storage in buildings – the potential in the Energy Package

Increasing renewable energy uptake will bring the need for greater energy flexibility and storage in order to match supply with demand. What if buildings could play this role, by offering thermal storage capacity that is currently untapped? This event will explore this concept, and make the link between the different elements of the Energy Package, from energy performance of buildings (EPBD) to electricity market design.

Healthier buildings - healthier citizens?

According to news outlet Euractiv, the European Commission plans to tackle healthier indoor environments as part of the energy performance of buildings legislation.  Could this be a move towards taking a much broader approach to sustainable construction?  I, for one, certainly hope so. 

How can we make our buildings more energy efficient?

Over recent months, much attention has been given to the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive (EPBD).  Dating back to 2010, this legislation aims mainly to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.  The European Commission is due to come with a proposal for the revised Directive this autumn.  As a result, many organizations are already outlining their views on which direction this review should take. 

International Seminar on Thermal Mass

The International Seminar on Thermal Mass, held in Madrid on 2 March 2016,was organised by IECA (the Spanish Institute for Cement and its Applications), PTEH (the Spanish Concrete Technology Platform) and The Concrete Initiative. The seminar was aimed at a wide range of stakeholders active in the field of construction, including policymakers, architects and engineers.

Renewable energy in buildings: Unleashing the potential of thermal mass for electricity grid flexibility

One of the challenges which we face today in terms of renewable energy is the mismatch between when this energy is generated and when it is needed. In order to make the most of the energy generated by renewables, such as wind and solar, flexibility is needed in the electricity grid. Heavyweight buildings can provide this flexibility by allowing for consumer energy demand to be shifted in time by using structural thermal energy storage.

Thermal mass: The smart approach to energy performance

Did you know that concrete can store energy and that, later on, this energy is then released? This effect, which is due to the high ‘thermal mass’ of concrete, makes buildings more energy efficient, lowers CO2 emissions, and improves wellbeing and comfort.

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