Friday, September 7, 2012

Thermal Bridging in Concrete


The thermal bridging group is progressing on their next publication through ASCE. One new point of focus in this publication is thermal bridging through other materials. One common building material that is often overlooked as a thermal bridge is concrete. 

Although concrete isn’t nearly as conductive as steel, where it acts as a bridge it can still cause substantial energy loss. One of the most common examples of this is at balconies. Often the balcony is merely a cantilever of the main floor slab. Because of this, there is no continuous envelope or insulation barrier. In high rise condos and apartments, these can almost be visualized as fins on a radiator, as they behave in much the same way. 

One way to avoid or reduce this bridge is with a proprietary break. These systems are designed to still transfer the cantilever forces (shear and moment), while reducing the bridging to isolated stainless steel bars. Although widely used in Europe, these systems are not commonly found in the states. The Thermal Bridging group will be looking at these cantilever concrete conditions more closely in the next publication.

Thermal Bridging Working Group update by web liaison Raquel Ranieri, P.E., LEED AP BD+C. Read more recent articles about thermal bridging here.

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