Energy Conservation and Thermal Insulation Performance of Concrete Block Walls Incorporating Expanded Polystyrene Panels: Experimental and Simulation Study

Ahmed A.Alawi Al-Naghi*, Muhammad Kalimur Rahman, Omar S.Baghabra Al-Amoudi, Mohammed A. Gondal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This work presents a field investigation and numerical simulation for studying the heat transmission through the walls of two specially designed test rooms exposed to the hot and arid summer climate of the coastal region of eastern Saudi Arabia. The walls of the reference room were constructed of typical hollow-core concrete blocks, while the walls of the second room were made of concrete blocks incorporating expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels. Both test rooms were equipped with thermocouples, heat flux meters, temperature/relative humidity sensors, and power meters that provided continuous measurements during the test period. Infrared scanning and U-value measurements were also performed, and a weather station installed at the site provided the meteorological data. The results of these measurements revealed that the walls made of the concrete blocks incorporating EPS panels have a heat flow resistance about 255% higher than that of the walls built of typical hollow-core concrete blocks. Similarly, the thermal transmittance was lower by about 65%. Accordingly, the second room displayed a reduction of 29% in energy consumption for providing the same level of thermal comfort during the summer months as compared with that in the reference room. Both test rooms were simulated using DesignBuilder software, and the simulation results were validated with the field monitoring data. In addition, parametric studies were subsequently carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of other insulation materials. It was found that the application of the reflective coating and insulating plaster over EPS concrete blocks could further improve the reduction of energy consumption to about 47%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04022023
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Keywords

  • Concrete blocks
  • DesignBuilder
  • Energy consumption
  • Expanded polystyrene
  • Field measurement
  • Hot climate
  • Simulation
  • Thermal performance
  • Thermal resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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