One of our many in-house research efforts is a large, collaborative project. We investigated the Thermal Performance of Façades through the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative.
Thermal bridging in building construction occurs when thermally conductive materials penetrate through the insulation creating areas of significantly reduced resistance to heat transfer. These thermal bridges are most often caused by structural elements that are used to transfer loads from the building envelope back to the building superstructure. Though design professionals generally understand that thermal bridging is a concern, few can quantify the extent of its impact on building performance.
Small changes in designs can still lead to dramatic improvements in performance. With careful detailing and attention to the issues of thermal bridging, the design and construction industry can improve the performance of our building envelopes.
Today we’re sharing our findings regarding seismic and movement joints.
Joint at masonry wall and existing building
Observations with the infrared camera revealed that seismic and movement joints present significant thermal bridges. R-values of R-2 to R-6 were seen, a substantial decrease from the design intent and the rest of the envelope assembly. By adding insulation to the front and sides of the joint, the R-value of the assembly was seen to be raised to an R-11.5, which is closer to the clear wall R-values for the adjacent assemblies.
As-Built Condition, R-7.88
Thermally Improved Condition, R-13.72 (+74%): Spray foam insulation added to existing wall and at frame for joint.
Thermal Performance of Facades: Final Report
Thermal Bridging Research: Curtain Walls
Thermal Bridging Research: Investigating Insulation Thickness for Renovations
Thermal Bridging Research: Masonry Veneer Walls
Thermal Bridging Research: Window Transitions
Thermal Bridging Research: Foundation to Wall Transitions
Thermal Bridging Research: Rainscreens
Thermal Bridging Research: Metal Panel Wall Systems
Thermal Bridging Research: Parapets
Thermal Bridging Research: Transitions between Wall Systems
Thermal Bridging Research: Soffits
Thermal Bridging Research: Roof to Wall Transitions
Thermal Bridging Research: Roof Penetrations
Thermal Bridging Research: Mechanical Louvers