Crystals of thermal mass
A close up of the material used on the inside-facing side of Virginia Tech's home. Architects used a polycarbonate aerogel that provides R24 insulation. When the sun hits the material, it retains heat, which can be released later in the day. Many of the Solar Decathlon homes used some sort of thermal mass--such as a concrete floor or water-filled wall--to hold onto heat or to help cool the home, which lessens the need for mechanical heating and cooling.
October 10, 2009 8:27 AM PDT
Photo by: Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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