American Journal of Mechanical Engineering
ISSN (Print): 2328-4102 ISSN (Online): 2328-4110 Website: Editor-in-chief: Kambiz Ebrahimi, Dr. SRINIVASA VENKATESHAPPA CHIKKOL
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American Journal of Mechanical Engineering. 2015, 3(2), 55-62
DOI: 10.12691/ajme-3-2-4
Open AccessArticle

Modeling of Thermal Mass in a Small Commercial Building and Potential Improvement by Applying TABS

Peizheng Ma1, and Nianhua Guo2

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, United States

2Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, United States

Pub. Date: April 21, 2015

Cite this paper:
Peizheng Ma and Nianhua Guo. Modeling of Thermal Mass in a Small Commercial Building and Potential Improvement by Applying TABS. American Journal of Mechanical Engineering. 2015; 3(2):55-62. doi: 10.12691/ajme-3-2-4


With a resistor-capacitor model built in Matlab/Simulink, the role of envelope/interior thermal mass (eTM/iTM) in a small commercial building is investigated systematically. It concludes that light-weight concrete is a little worse than normal-weight concrete but much better than wood as eTM or iTM for controlling operative temperature variation in the building. In order to combine the advantages of radiant cooling/heating with the heat storage of massive building structure, an attractive technique called TABS (thermally activated building systems) is applied to the building to investigate the potential improvement. Simulations demonstrate that TABS can keep the operative temperature level around the comfort zone with small variations. As TABS is a low-temperature heating and high-temperature cooling technique, it suggests that natural energy gradient driven low-power equipment, such as cooling tower and rooftop solar thermal panels, can be used to achieve free cooling/heating combining photovoltaics.

building energy modeling RC model thermal mass TABS small commercial building heat transfer and storage

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