Thermal mass and Design-Side Response (DSR)

Utilising thermal mass to optimise peaks and troughs in energy grid supply

Thermal mass can be used support the variable energy profile of our increasingly renewable energy supply. Demand-side response (DSR) is a more carbon-efficient way of using energy, and can assist the transition to renewable sources by spreading demand across the 24-hour cycle. This means it reduces stress on the national grid at peak times, and also that consumers can make greater use of cheaper off-peak energy tariffs, cutting fuel bills. 

Combined with the electrification of heating and cooling systems and a so-called “smart grid”, concrete and masonry buildings could play a significant role in demand-side flexibility due to the thermal inertia of heavyweight construction. According to renewable energy consultant 3E, buildings with high thermal mass can maximise the use of renewables and cut peak electricity demand by up to 50%.  

More information can be sourced from the document: Structural Thermal Energy Storage in Heavy-Weight Buildings, published by 3E.