The Effects of Thermal Bridging at Interface Conditions

June 29, 2008
Publication: BEST 1: Building for Energy Efficiency and Durability at the Crossroads [first biennial international conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 10-12, 2008]
Author(s): Sean OBrien Paul E. Totten Marcin Pazera

Thermal bridging in buildings can contribute to a multitude of problems, including, but not limited to, added energy use during heating and cooling seasons and interior surface condensation problems.|Thermal bridges are discontinuities in any thermal barrier and are more pronounced when the material creating the bridge is highly conductive. This paper presents several examples from previous projects for which we investigated thermal bridging at various building component interface conditions. The resulting problems and the proposed solutions focus on optimizing thermal bridges to minimize energy loss, and, in many cases, limit the risk for condensation.|Typical interface conditions discussed include roof-to-wall, steel stud construction, wall-to-fenestration, balcony-to-wall, and wall-to-wall. Additional examples examine structural penetrations for sun shading devices.|Other conditions that may affect heat transfer at interface conditions such as convective loops and air flow will be briefly discussed, but are not the main focus of this paper.