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Thermal performance of building envelopes with structural layers of the same density: Lightweight aggregate concrete versus foamed concrete

Strzałkowski, Jarosław; Sikora, Pawel; Chung, Sang-Yeop; Abd Elrahman, Mohamed

This study presents a comparative analysis of the effects of lightweight aggregate concrete (LWAC) and foamed concrete (FC), with dry densities of 500, 750 and 1000 kg/m3, on the thermal performance of a typical multi-family (residential) building. Typical two-layer walls consisting of an essential layer (LWAC or FC), with an insulating layer of foamed polystyrene were evaluated. To ensure fixed U values for all variants tested, the thicknesses of the support layers were adjusted accordingly, in such a way that in each variant the load-bearing layer had the same value of the thermal resistance, thus ensuring the same thermal transmittance value for the entire wall. Calculations were made for four different climate zones, making it possible to determine the impact of each variant used, in different climatic conditions. For a hot climate, the data for Cairo (Egypt) was used. A moderate, warm climate was represented by Vienna (Austria), a moderate cold climate by Kołobrzeg (Poland) and a cold climate by Tromsoe (Norway). Significant correlations between the type/density of concrete and climate zones were established. The study shows that, despite comparable densities and thermal conductivity values between LWAC and FC, their specific heat and thus dynamic thermal properties are different. Study provides valuable guidelines and knowledge on choice between proper lightweight concrete type depending on the climate zone. Meaningful conclusions were drawn, showing that the pursue for developing the material with “the lowest” thermal conductivity itself is not the key factor to develop a residential building with satisfactory thermal comfort.
Published in: Building and Environment, 10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107799, Elsevier