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Concrete tilt-up in residential construction: innovative energy efficient design

Aguero, Patrick I.R. (1995) Concrete tilt-up in residential construction: innovative energy efficient design. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Tilt-up construction features the use of factory or site cast (not precast) reinforced concrete panels that are tilted about one edge and/or lifted into position to form the walls of a building. This method of construction benefits the builder by offering time and cost savings. It is also attractive to architects because of the variety of surface finishes and panel shapes that can be achieved. Due to this versatility, Tilt-up construction has evolved from its beginnings in factory buildings to sophisticated commercial and multi-unit residential construction.

With the continuing growth in Tilt-up construction, there is a need to assess the potential benefits to the home owner of an energy efficient design using the thermal mass properties of concrete Tilt-up panels. Tilt-up will reach its full potential as an energy efficient form of construction when the short term cost savings to the builder are combined with the long term energy savings to the home owner.

The objective of this work is to undertake an innovative energy efficient design of a residential Tiltup building in the form of a fully detached single storey house. The project will assess the benefits and the problems of combining residential Tilt-up construction with energy efficient design principles by comparing the results to a conventional design approach.

Specific objectives include:

• Identification of design elements of energy efficient design and tilt-up construction,
• Development of performance indicators to optimise the design and assess the relative benefits and costs of combining energy efficient design and tilt-up construction,
• Selection of a proven energy efficient house based on a conventional design approach,
• Design of an appropriate Tilt-up construction method for the selected energy efficient house, and
• Optimisation of the design by the application of performance indicators to the design elements.

In the first instance, it is necessary to determine an appropriate design strategy that will meet the above objectives. The work involves the design of a fully detached single storey house in Perth, Western Australia. Therefore, the design strategy must be relevant to Perth's climatic, social, political and economic conditions. In this light, an Australian rather than an overseas based approach, provides the most appropriate starting point for the research and design task. Developments overseas are assessed with respect to specific design tools and options that may enhance the flexibility, results and applicability of the adopted design approach.

Section 2 develops the design strategy for an energy efficient design of a fully detached single storey house incorporating Tilt-up construction. Design strategies in use in Australia that achieve the separate objectives of energy efficient design and Tilt-up construction are identified and specific design. tools and options are assessed. In particular, strengths, weaknesses, limitations and assumptions of available strategies are discussed with respect to the above objectives. A design strategy combining the objectives of energy efficient design and Tilt-up construction is developed together with a consolidated list of common and exclusive design elements. In addition, a multi-objective assessment criteria in the form of performance indicators is introduced to optimise and assess the design.

Once the design strategy is developed, it is then necessary to determine how each design element is judged by the assessment criteria. Section 3 develops the assessment framework by assigning, where appropriate, quantitative or qualitative measures to the performance indicators. This establishes the mechanism by which each design element is addressed in terms of the performance indicators. Factors that conflict with, or complement other performance indicators are identified and where possible, quantified. Where required, trade-offs are assessed and adopted. In this way the design task is optimised and assessed in an iterative process to meet the assessment criteria.

Section 4 details the design of the Tilt-up house, including optimisation of design elements to meet
performance indicators. The selection criteria for a proven energy efficient design to form the base case design is outlined. In addition, the results of the conversion from conventional to Tilt-up construction are discussed and guiding strategies that provide opportunities for further optimisation are identified. Finally, the results of applying appropriate guiding strategies to further optimise the base case design are detailed. It is important to note that due to professional liability limitations on the author, only a preliminary structural design is attempted in this work. If the house is to be constructed, then this will require a detailed structural design that will be the responsibility of an independent professionally certified structural engineer.

Section 5 summarises the results of optimising the design and discusses the extent to which each performance indicator has been met. Specifically, the benefits and costs of combining energy efficient design with Tilt-up construction are assessed.

Section 6 draws a number of conclusions and makes recommendations for the application of the results and for further work based on the results discussed in Section 5.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Notes: A digital copy of this thesis is not available. Your library can request a copy from Murdoch University Library via Document Delivery. A fee applies to this service.
Supervisor: Ho, Goen
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