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Empirical and computational evidence for thermal mass assessment: The example of insulating concrete formwork

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journal contribution
posted on 05.03.2019, 11:25 by Eirini MantesiEirini Mantesi, Christina Hopfe, Konstantinos Mourkos, Jacqui Glass, Malcolm CookMalcolm Cook
Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) is a site-based Modern Method of Construction (MMC). As a MMC, ICF has several advantages; increased speed of construction, cost and defect reduction, safety, among others. Moreover, the ICF wall construction method has similar benefits to any other heavyweight structure (such as strength, durability, noise attenuation). However, its thermal performance is not yet well-researched and understood. Using computational analysis and empirical evaluation, the aim of this research was to analyse the thermal performance of an existing ICF building; and to develop evidence about its transient thermal behaviour and how the latter is affected by the inherent thermal inertia of the concrete core. The results demonstrated that the ICF fabric showed a slow response to changes in boundary conditions, providing a stable internal environment. The concrete core of ICF was found to act as a buffer to the heat flow, reducing the transmission losses by 37%, compared to a lightweight wall with equivalent insulation. The analysis showed that although ICF is mostly considered as an insulated panel, the element’s thermal mass is not as decoupled from the internal space, as has been thought the case.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering at Loughborough University for the provision of a grant (number EPG037272) to undertake this research project, in collaboration with Aggregate Industries UK Ltd.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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Energy and Buildings






MANTESI, E. ... et al., 2019. Empirical and computational evidence for thermal mass assessment: The example of insulating concrete formwork. Energy and Buildings, 188–189, pp. 314-332.


© Elsevier BV


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Energy and Buildings and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.02.021

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