Performance of ventilated walls using light blocks for the building industry assessed by MRC

Times India Today | : Mar 02,2019 07:48 PM IST

The findings of the project “Investigation and in-situ measurement of the dynamic thermal performance of ventilated walls using light blocks in the Mauritian context” was disseminated during a half-day workshop yesterday at the seat of the Mauritius Research Council (MRC), Ebène Heights, Ebène.  The research was funded by the MRC under its Small Scale Research and Innovation Grant Scheme.

This project researched into the efficiency of using ventilated facades as a passive design measure so as to limit heat gains into interior spaces by using light blocks.  The light block facade thus allows air movement inside the wall cavity as opposed to constrained air pockets resulting from the use of conventional concrete blocks.

Dr M. Gooroochurn, from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Mauritius, presented the findings to some 20 participants of various organisations.  Mauritius, he highlighted, needs to come up with practical and simple, yet effective solutions which can be adopted by our local construction industry to provide thermally comfortable interior spaces with reduced energy use. In fact, he observed, buildings are contributing significantly to the global carbon footprint, and the increase in summer temperatures caused by global warming and climate change, which are threatening to further increase the use of active cooling and ventilation systems.

According to Dr Gooroochurn, experimental results have been generated for comparing the performance of a building prototype made from normal block with one made from light blocks, where air can move through the wall cavity. The key outcome, he pointed out, is a definite gain with the ventilated wall, with two to three degrees’ Celsius drop in interior wall temperature recorded and a useful shift in the peak cooling load in the afternoon.

Simulation results, underlined Dr Gooroochurn, have also been generated through Computational Fluid Dynamics analyses and dynamic building simulations for assessing summertime overheating performance and building energy modelling so as to determine air-conditioning energy use for the normal block and light block constructions.

The simulation results, remarked Dr Gooroochurn, validate the experimental results and support the benefits that ventilated facades would bring to our buildings.  He further acknowledged that the present study opens avenues for further research in the same field. Participants had the opportunity to interact with Dr Gooroochurn for additional information after the presentation of the findings.


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