Creating efficient buildings is high on the agenda, but there’s a lot of vocabulary and terminology to try and understand. Thermal breaks and thermal bridges for example, have very different meanings but are often used incorrectly.
An overview of thermal bridging
Looking at thermal bridging, this is what is used to describe a connection within a building that has higher thermal conductivity than its surrounding materials. This results in what we can visualize as an actual bridge, or pathway, for heat to travel along to leave or enter the building envelope. These bridges cause lower thermal resistance and a less economical and efficient building altogether. These connections are where heat is transferred via conduction, and the rate at which this happens can be measured by determining the difference in temperatures at each end of the bridge. Alternatively, the thermal conductivity of the material can be measured before it is incorporated within a build.
As thermal bridges allow heat to escape or enter into a building, they can create a wide range of problems. Cold spots on interior walls can lead to condensation, mold and colder temperatures inside, meaning higher energy bills and issues meeting efficiency regulations and recommendations. These disadvantages are exactly why it is so important for architects, specifiers and engineers to properly understand how detrimental thermal bridging can be so these issues can be combated.
An overview of thermal breaks
Put simply, a thermal break is the solution to thermal bridging. To ensure these terms are used correctly, it can help to image the thermal breaks as a break in the bridge – physically putting a stop to anything passing across the bridge. These materials which prevent and reduce energy transfer are known as continuous insulation which refers to something uninterrupted by materials with high thermal conductivity. The closed cell properties slow the movement of energy through any materials and help work towards better energy efficiency levels.
The future of the construction industry is constantly evolving and as new regulations and restrictions come to light across the world in the aim of a more efficient landscape, more efforts need to be made to make futureproof buildings. Thermal breaks are a small but impactful way to make a step towards this. Armatherm™ manufactures an array of products to help within connections where bridging can occur including masonry shelf angle, balcony, canopy, column base and foundation walls, you can check out the full products range on our website or get in touch with our team of experts to see how we can help with your next project.
Contact us today to find out more or request a quote.