Sections of the previous chapters looked at our human need for a comfortable environment, and considered some of the external interactions of buildings and the wider environment. Heat energy and other thermal properties are major factors in maintaining our human body comfort and therefore also play major roles in the performance of buildings. The transfer of thermal energy through the fabric of buildings is a dominant factor in the energy and carbon profile of buildings, and it is the focus of this chapter. The broader subject of energy use in buildings was examined in Chapter 2, and you may find it useful to consider these two chapters together. Thermal insulation is a major factor in reducing the heat loss from buildings and so minimising energy use and carbon emissions. Adequate insulation should therefore be a feature of good initial design. The relatively small cost of extra insulating materials is quickly paid for by the reduction in the size of the heating plant required and by the annual savings in the amount of fuel needed. These fuel savings, and the related reduction in carbon emissions, continue throughout the life of the building.
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