Thermal mass refers to the ability of materials to store heat. Construction materials store heat differently. For example, wood absorbs heat slowly and steel absorbs heat quickly. Concrete and masonry materials absorb and release heat effectively, which is why we chose concrete floors for our passive solar house.
To improve heating and cooling without relying on supplementary heating/cooling sources as much, a concrete floor can help with heating/cooling on its own. Concrete floors can respond well to the changing conditions between day and night. For example, during the day in the winter, the floors will capture the heat from the sun coming from the south facing windows. At night as the temperature drops, this will trigger the slow release of the heat from the floors into the house thereby reducing the need for supplementary heating.
We will have specially designed outdoor eaves/overhangs to sheild the south facing windows from the sun in the summer months. The idea is to protect the indoors from the sun’s heat in the summer, so as not to overheat the house.