We are proud to announce Payette has been selected as one of the recipients for the AIA Upjohn Research Grant to continue our research on thermal bridging that Andrea Love and Charles Klee recently presented at the recent Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) conference.
Currently there is a push for higher performing buildings and work towards developing market-viable net-zero buildings. Better performing building envelopes will be one component that will help realize this goal. Increasing the amount of insulation is one approach; however, as insulation is added to an assembly, the thermal bridges that exist in the system become a more dominant source of energy loss through the building envelope. While the occurrence of thermal bridges in commercial wall assemblies is a widely understood phenomenon, only a few research studies have been conducted, but those have shown that thermal bridges can reduce assembly R-values by up to 45% or more. We have found through thermal imaging of eight buildings that in some envelopes thermal bridging may have an even larger impact than that. We have reached to point in the design of our envelopes where these thermal shorts have become the dominate source of heat loss.
This research project will seek to determine façade details that can reduce the heat lost through thermal bridging. Building on our initial investigations, we will image additional buildings to understanding the real thermal performance of building envelopes and to increase the practice’s knowledge of the discrepancy between design intentions and actual performance. Augmented with heat flow simulations, this analysis will allow us to arrive at improved detailing of different systems, such as curtain walls, metal panels, rain screens and masonry facades, as well as common problem envelope transitions like horizontal to vertical, soffits and window openings. Ultimately, the study will try to find alternatives to industry standards that can be proposed to provide enhanced thermal performance.
Payette is excited to be one of 2012’s Upjohn Research Grant recipients, and is looking forward to continuing this important research through the support of the grant and Payette’s matching funds.
Images from the grant application:
Figure 1: Thermal image taken off a façade which measured the R-value at 60% less than the calculated
clear wall R-value.
Figure 2: Diagram of showing how thermal bridging remains consistent as insulation is increased.
Figure 3: Design detail and heat flow simulation of a rainscreen façade with Z-furring.