Adding insualtion/thermal mass?

I'm not sure whatehr this is a Q. for here, or the Building Construction NG.
What I started wondering about was this:
It's often said that Thermal Mass, esp. high-mass in the walls, is one of the best passive climate-control/insulation methods. SO what I'm wondering is, If one buys an older home, can thermal mass be added to the outside? How could that be done - I assume teh siding would have to be removed, and "stuff" added to the walls...? Is that even possible?
I've been thinking a lot recently about how to get/have/make a "green home", and trying to find not only ideas, but "how to" info. So, I got that thought about whether thermal mass can be added to exterior walls on an already-constructed house.
TIA!
- K.
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Sorta kinda. Thermal mass is used as a heat sink/bank. It warms up during the day and releases the heat at night. In essence, you're shifting the diurnal heating cycle out of phase to help regulate the average temperature.
Since you're starting with a completed house - one that has insulation on the wrong side of your heat bank, it won't be that effective. A trombe wall is an option in your situation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombe_wall You can make smaller versions that incorporate the existing glazing. Penn State's entry at last year's Solar Decathlon in DC had an operable wall made from recycled milk bottles.
https://www.eere-pmc.energy.gov/Solar_Decathlon_07/images/10-14/101407-10.jpg
The rolling panels could be moved in front of the window to absorb the heat, or rolled out of the way if the heat bank wasn't needed. The Solar Decathlon web site would be a good place to poke around to see some fairly innovative incorporation of energy efficient details.
R
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wrote:

THat's what I'd assumed - but it's always good to have confirmation!

INteresting info - I'd never heard the term "tromb wall" (at least, not that I consciously remember, which has the same effect ;) ). I added that to my "Architecture and Building" links, thanks!
I'll have to study that.

Interesting idea but not very aesthetic. OTOH, I suppose one could use clear plastic tubing in front of the windows, and have the water then create a loop over the house, down, then under, and back. Or maybe not - I'll have to think about that one more.
Good information, tho', thanks again :)
- K.
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wrote:

Back in the late 70's / early 80's there were several companies producing phase changing eutectic salts that would melt upon heating in sunlight and store substantial amounts of heat to be released slowly during the night. Some were in tall metal or plastic tubes about 4" in diameter placed in front of windows, and others could be built into window seats and furniture. One installation I saw had the hot air ducted into an insulated basement area. The duct could be closed during the summer or maybe the system could be reversed? It all died when the Regan gvt. pulled out tax breaks for alternative energy.
BTW the State just announced 5 wind turbines to be built to power the waste treatment system for Boston. These will be located on the island at the end of my town. I look forward to those guys. EDS
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wrote:

Very nifty! I googled "eutectic salts" and am going through the info - Geez, I've learned *two* totally new things today :D
OK, so, why not use something like that as a "translucent view obscuring window" - IOW, having water in a tube makes it hard for someone to see into your place, but light still comes through, so why not MFG soemthing that is a set of vertical cells (glass or maybe better/safer to use Lexan or Plexiglass) with a circulation tubing connector, fused together into a unit that could be set into window frames.
((I know what will happen - people I know would tell me I'm stupid for thinking up *yet another* dumbass idea, and Lo!, in a couple years, someone else will do it and make money <LOL!>))
SO, here we go: http://tinyurl.com/5zx5v5 "LATENT HEAT STORAGE MATERIALS AND SYSTEMS: A REVIEW" - S.D. Sharma and Kazunobu Sagara
I haven't finished reading the whole thing, but they show a diagram of a system similar to what I described, the main difference (from what I can so far tell) being that they're not using it as a window. THey show their tilted, which *would* make it a more efficient solar collector - OTOH, why does a house exterior *have* to be vertical? A lot fo passive- solar designs show tilted "glass walls". SO why not make ti a design feature?
THe *science* for so many of these things exists, it's mostly IMO a matter of (1) design, (2) aesthetic "stuck-in-the-mud-ism", and (3) economics. Obviously, there are designers who work with these things to one degree or another. SO that's not *too* great of a hrudle, I don't think.
There is the problem of economics, which would improve immensely if *gov.t* (both federal, and non-federal) chose to change their wasteful ways.
But mostly, and a far larger hurdle, is that people in general have a certain view of what they think is and is not "aesthetic". I personally think that's the largest hurdle.
Anyway, the articles on eutectics look fascinating - thanks for bringing it up :D !
- K.
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