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Integrated Cooling & Heating

The Energy Mass Wall construction facilitates easy installation of radiant tubing. The tubing can be placed in the interior leaf to heat or cool the interior spaces and it can also be placed in the exterior leaf to siphon heat away from the building and create a reservoir of hot water for other uses.

The tubing is placed at a convenient point in the construction - when the ICF blocks have been erected and the expanding foam installed, but prior to installation of the welded wire mesh and shotcrete. This location fits with the general construction schedule and allows the tubing to be securely anchored to the forms. It also sets the tubing three inches back from the face of the finished wall, which corresponds to the precise location where the cone of influence from the hot or cold liquid running through the tubes will touch at the surface of the wall when the tubing is spaced a standard 12” apart.

tubing diagram in energy mass wall

It is a known fact in the industry that radiant cooling or heating is much more efficient than a forced air system, due in part, because water is 800 times denser than air and because pumps generally consume less energy than fans. Moving a BTU of energy with water is 95% more efficient than moving the same energy with air. Additionally, it is easy and practical to harvest the heat from solar radiation and the cooling from emissive night harvesting. This can be accomplished without the use of solar electrical panels, creating another avenue for achieving net zero energy buildings.

In winery barrel rooms and rooms for aging distilled spirits, the radiant cooling in the Energy Mass Wall has a huge financial benefit. The Energy Mass wall creates an interior space much like an underground cave where the interior temperatures are stable year-round even when infiltration loads from the opening and closing of doors enter the room. This stable environment then permits the barrel room to be cooled with a radiant system rather than a forced air refrigeration system. This is important because, unlike a forced air system which dries out the air, a radiant system does not. Additionally, because of the rock steady temperature conditions, the relative humidity can be kept high. The result is a significant reduction in evaporative loss from the barrels and kegs, known in the industry as “the angels’ share.” The savings in wine or whiskey loss and labor for topping off the barrels can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings annually.

Read more about keeping the "angels’ share"  

barrel in cave
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