The impacts of a building's thermal mass on the cooling load of a radiant system under various typical climates

Rong Hu, Gang Liu, Jianlei Niu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cooling load is difficult to predict for a radiant system, because the interaction between a building's thermal mass and radiation heat gain has not been well defined in a zone with a cooling surface. This study aims to reveal the effect of thermal mass in an external wall on the transmission load in a space with an active cooling surface. We investigated the thermal performances in a typical office building under various weather conditions by dynamic simulation with Energy-Plus. It was found that the thermal mass in the inside concrete layer had positives in terms of indoor temperature performance and energy conservation. The peak cooling load of the hydronic system decreases 28% in the proper operating state, taking into account the effect of the thermal mass in an external wall. Compared to the performances in zones with equivalent convective air systems (CASs), the peak cooling load and the accumulated load of the combined system (radiant system coupled by fresh air system) are higher by 9%-11% and 3%-4%, respectively. The effect of thermal mass is evident in a transient season with mild weather, when the relative effects are about 45% and 60%, respectively, for a building with radiant systems and a building with equivalent CASs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1356
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020


  • Energy conservation
  • Energy simulation
  • Radiant cooling system
  • Thermal inertia
  • Thermal mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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