Beat the heat with concrete

In the western suburbs of Sydney summers can be uncomfortably hot and one resident has found a novel way to beat the heat. Near the Nepean River at Castlereagh, Eser Usta built his dream home with concrete walls and flooring creating a house that is noticeably cooler in summer. 

While escaping the summer heat is the biggest challenge to comfort control in the warmer sections of Australia, the house is also naturally warmer in winter. The big advantage to Eser is that the comfort control system comes with an attractive energy price tag: no excessive electricity or gas bills to maintain comfortable temperature.

With energy prices heading to unprecedented levels, maximising the use of concrete is the future for residential housing. Using concrete walls and floors to maintain an even year round temperature in the house is called passive climate control.  For environmentally conscious consumers, passive climate control is an attractive investment. 

The system works by utilising the natural thermal mass of concrete in the walls and floor as a heat energy stabiliser in conjunction with thermal insulation in the walls and ceiling to prevent fugitive migration of heat to the internal living spaces.

The concrete walls were easily built by using the Dincel Construction System of polymer permanent formwork which is erected into the wall position and then filled with concrete. The forms are hollow and lightweight which means no crane is required and the forms are assembled easily and quickly being connected with snap together joints. Assembly of the form does not need a tradesman and with relevant training owner builders can do it themselves.

The formwork has steel reinforcement placed within the wall to produce a strong, reinforced concrete shell which forms the rooms of the house. The walls have continuous reinforcement between the floor and walls to lock them together creating a strong, robust structure. Penetrations in formwork using block outs are used to easily create window and door cavities to any size required. The forms are temporarily braced until the concrete hardens and the braces can be removed the next day – creating a very fast method of wall construction.

Filling the forms with concrete is relative easy by using a boom pump to do the hard work of elevating the concrete and directing it into the form. The concrete then sets to create a wall with all the inherent strength, robustness and durability of reinforced concrete.

The Dincel residential wall form is 110 mm thick and creates a reinforced concrete wall permanently encased by the original polymer formwork. The outside wall face can be rendered directly over the Dincel substrate to create a smooth faced external facade. The inside wall faces may be lined with furring channels and plaster board. Wall insulation may be inserted either on the inside face or outside face using the furring channels and face board.

The furring channel creates a 40 mm void on the face of the Dincel polymer wall which neatly carries the concealed services of electricity and water behind the facing surface board.

The lightweight polymer formwork has three main advantages: it has a low skill requirement to install, low cost to purchase and fast to erect.

This means that the concrete wall it creates is extremely competitive and produces a strong, robust premium passive comfort control wall. 

Concrete walls in conjunction with a concrete floor and insulation create a home which is naturally cool in summer and warm in winter – an end to expensive energy bills. With energy costs heading to unprecedented levels and Australian summers predicted to intensify then for families that want a natural escape from summer heat: concrete is the answer.  


Project: Single residential, Castlereagh, Sydney
Owner/Builder: Eser Usta
Architect: Daniel Briffa, Adan Creative Design
Engineer: Alan Hamilton, Dincel and Associates
Formwork System: Dincel