Timber is recognised as being very well suited as a material for high thermal performance buildings.
Wall, floor and roof constructions have a significant effect on building thermal performance.
Building thermal performance includes the thermal comfort of occupants, the capacity of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and the energy used by that equipment.
Timber is a suitable construction material for high thermal performance buildings for a number of reasons.
Low thermal conductivity
Compared with other structural materials timber has low thermal conductivity, which is an advantage when designing a building envelope with high resistance to heat flow.
Significant volumetric heat capacity
Timber has significant volumetric heat capacity, which can be utilised to provide a building with thermal mass.
Thermal mass can reduce building energy use and improve thermal comfort by absorbing and storing heat from the indoors, then releasing it back at some later time.
Moisture absorption capacity
Timber has moisture absorption capacity, that can be utilised to reduce fluctuations in indoor relative humidity resulting in improved thermal comfort, perceived air quality and occupant health.
The thermal performance of a building is dependent on the design of its structure (materials and geometry) and other inter-related factors.
Sophisticated building simulation tools, that model the complex relationship between these factors, are increasingly being used to design building structures for high thermal performance.