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The basic concept has been around in one form or another for a very long time.

It's all about what they like to call "Thermal Mass", but it can be above ground as well. Adobe houses are a good example.


Another idea that has seen some traction in the last decade or so has been the use of those polystyrene cement forms. You stack 'em like cinderblock, cutting with a heat knife when necessary and you put in reinforcing ties on each level to hold the sides together.

Then you fill the insides with poured concrete.


You can also do that with traditional forms for a full width concrete wall.


Anyhow, you get a whole lot of thermal mass either way, so whatever temp your house happens to BE at, it wants to STAY at. It's also real popular to combine them with radiant floor heat.
 
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