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Per Analysis of Cost Savings of a Thermal Mass
by: Fred Eilers

Thanks Joe for your submission. Okay I am going to take a shot at figuring out an answer to your question. First I am going to assume the slab you mention is concrete. While researching I found the volumetric heat capacity of concrete to be 2060 kJ/m3xK or the amount of energy to raise the temperature of the slab by a certain number of degrees. Assuming the outside average minimum temperature is 22 0 F in January in Newark, Delaware I am going to figure the amount of energy to put into the slab to raise the slab temperature by 25.55 K or 25.55 degrees C or 46 degrees F to get the slab temperature to 68 degrees F. Since the volume of the slab is 600 sq ft by 4 inches or 198 cubic ft, converting to cubic meters for the equation we get 5.61 cubic meters. Inserting this into the volumetric heat capacity of concrete, 2060 KJ/5.61m3x25.55K = approximately 295,271,130 Jules. This is the amount of energy required to heat the slab by 25.550 C or 46 degrees F. It is also the amount of energy that the slab will put out if it is heated to 46 degrees F and allowed to cool off. Again doing some research I find that natural gas produces 37.5 million joules of energy, per cubic meter, when burned. So to warm the slab with natural gas, dividing the energy required to warm the slab to 68 degrees F , 295,271,130 Jules by 37,500,000 we get 7.87 cubic meters of gas. I looked up what natural gas costs residents in Newark, Delaware and they pay an average of 48 cents per cubic meter of gas. So 7.87 cubic meters multiplied by .48 equals $3.77 to heat the slab to 68 degrees F. That of course must go on all day in able to keep the slab (or home) at 68 degrees F. Since solar energy from the South facing glass would warm the slab all day, no natural gas would be needed. After the sun quits shining and shades are pulled the heated slab would start cooling down releasing its heat to the home. So using the $3.77 per day natural gas requirement minimum and I am guessing it would be more, your looking at close to $120.00 per month savings or $1,440.00 per year. That of course does not take into account gas price increases. I did a rough calculation of the slab cost of around $800.00 which means the payback for the slab would be about 7 to 8 months. After that, all that heat energy is FREE.

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