Exterior Thermal Mass (eTM) is known to improve building energy and thermal comfort performance. Despite its known benefits, studies to date have not thoroughly addressed the effects of eTM on building environmental performance by considering a wide range of influential factors and various climatic conditions. This paper addresses such a gap in the body of knowledge by conducting a comprehensive and detailed analysis of eTM impacts on residential buildings’ energy performance. Using quantitative research and simulation analyses, this study has found various trends of energy reductions and, in a few cases, energy increases depending upon the location of projects.
In fact, the cooling energies are shown to increase of up to 4% for the scenario of 20 cm thickness wall in several locations. Aiming for better energy and design load scenarios, this research has also established the optimal eTM depth to help architects and engineers make informed design decisions with regard to building envelopes, which is particularly important for developing countries with similar climates studied in this paper, where the use of masonry materials is widely common. As for future steps, further exploration of cooling energy increase phenomenon, which was observed for several climates is recommended. Also, coupling eTM with code-required thermal insulation based upon specific climatic locations and evaluate their integrated performance can be considered.