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Terms for Green Architecture, Building & Energy

This glossary includes more than 300 solar terms, as well as hundreds of additional sustainable design and construction terms.

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Thermal Mass

Definition 1: Thermal mass, in the most general sense, is any material that has the capacity to store heat. In ecologically-sustainable building construction, when used correctly, it can significantly reduce the requirement for active heating and cooling systems and the consumption of active solar, renewable energy, and especially fossil fuel technologies.

Definition 2: Ideal materials for thermal mass are those materials that have:

- High specific heat,

- High density

- Low thermal conductivity (see insulation)

Such materials are able to slowly store or release (low thermal conductivity), relatively large quantities of heat per unit volume (high volumetric heat capacity) compared to other materials.