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To obtain factual information on the relative energy conservation of insulated wood-frame and masonry structures, two research projects were conducted to compare the effects of the two construction systems and their respective materials on heating and air-conditioning economy and comfort. One study investigated energy consumption in the Beltsville, Maryland climate (Washington, D. C. area), the second was in the warm climate of Tempe, Arizona (Phoenix area), where an extended air-conditioning period is necessary.
In both studies, two test structures of the same interior dimensions were erected — one an insulated wood-frame building over a crawl space, the other an insulated masonry building with a concrete slab-onground floor. At each site the two structures were exposed simultaneously to identical weather conditions and controlled interior temperatures during full heating and cooling seasons.
The energy conservation potential of two test structures in the extreme Arizona climate was compared in this study. Insulated wood-frame construction proved its value, over the 12 month test period, by requiring 23 percent less energy than needed for the masonry structure. During the hot summer months, energy consumption in the frame structure was 30 percent less than in the insulated masonry building. And in the relatively mild Arizona winter, the wood-frame structure consumed 23 percent less energy.