The main objectives of this thesis have been to evaluate how, under which premises, and to what extent building thermal mass can contribute to reduce the net energy demand in office buildings. The thesis also assesses the potential thermal environmental benefits of utilizing thermal mass in office buildings, i.e. reduction of temperature peaks, reduction of temperature swings, and the reduction in the number of hours with excessive operative temperatures. This has been done by literature searches, and experimental and analytical assessments. This thesis mainly concerns office buildings in the Norwegian climate. However, the methods used and the results obtained from this work are transferable to other countries with similar climates and building codes.
Within the limitations of this thesis and based on the findings from all parts and papers this thesis comprises, it is shown that utilization of thermal mass in office buildings reduces the daytime peak temperature, reduces the diurnal temperature swing, decreases the number of hours with excessive temperatures, and increases the ability of a space to handle daytime heat loads. Exposed thermal mass also contributes to decrease the net cooling demand in buildings. However, thermal mass is found to have only a minor influence on the heating demand in office buildings.
The quantity of the achievements is dependent on the amount of exposed thermal mass, night ventilation strategy, and airflow rates. In addition, parameters such as set point temperatures, control ranges, occupancy patterns, daytime ventilation airflow rates, and prevailing convection regimes are influential for the achieved result. The importance of these parameters are quantified and discussed.