An adobe wall can serve as a significant heat reservoir due to the thermal properties inherent in the massive walls typical in adobe construction. In tropical and other climates typified by hot days and cool nights, the high thermal mass of adobe levels out the heat transfer through the wall to the living space. The massive walls require a large and relatively long input of heat from the sun (radiation) and from the surrounding air (convection) before they warm through to the interior and begin to transfer heat to the living space. After the sun sets and the temperature drops, the warm wall will then continue to transfer heat to the interior for several hours due to the time lag effect. Thus, a well-planned adobe wall of the appropriate thickness is very effective at controlling inside temperature through the wide daily fluctuations typical of desert climates, a factor which has contributed to its longevity as a building material. In addition, the exterior of an adobe wall can be covered with glass to increase heat collection. In a passive solar home, this is called a Trombe wall.
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“A drop of water has the properties of the sea, but cannot exhibit a storm. There is beauty of a concert, as well as of a flute; strength of a host, as well as of a hero.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)