While thermal bridges deliver a severe hit to the overall performance of an assembly, thermal breaks using continuous insulation can help mitigate the damage. 

 

Top Resources for Using Foam to Prevent Thermal Bridging:

 

Tools & Education

This presentation, adapted from a presentation given by Jay Crandell P.E. at the 2018 ASHRAE Annual Conference, covers the basics of thermal bridging in wall assembly performance. It demonstrates methods of estimating the magnitude of the effect of thermal bridges using mathematical approaches to calculating assembly performance, and explains the pros and cons of various methods. 

Discusses types of thermal bridges and their impacts as well as repetitive metal penetrations for cladding and component attachments. 

Details and information on the use of CI to avoid thermal bridges

This investigation seeks to quantify the effects of thermal bridging in commercial facades and then propose alternative solutions to improve performance by comparing infrared images of recently completed buildings to theoretical models. 

Best Practices

Continuous insulation (ci) and cavity insulation products are both sold with R-value ratings, but the way these two products are used in wall construction means they do not have the same effectiveness. 

This supplement to Modern Steel Construction is the product of the joint Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) /American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Thermal Steel Bridging Task Committee, in conjunction with the SEI’s Sustainability Committee’s Thermal Bridging Working Group.

When a builder comes across an R20 + 5ci insulation requirement, it can be easy to think: R20 + 5ci? Why not just use R-25 in the cavity? This guide goes through the math comparing R20 + 5ci and R25 walls.

Practical Research

Provides data to help better understand the implications and support an equitable, performance-based treatment of thermal bridges for common building assembly conditions and variations.  

This work provides practical guidelines for the mitigation and reduction of thermal bridge problems in existing and new Army facilities. A wide range of building types was investigated from which nine common types were identified, and a number of important thermal bridge details were chosen for each.

Additional Information

This guide from BC Hydro focuses on improving the thermal performance of opaque building envelope assemblies and interface details, providing practical information to meet the challenges of reducing energy use in buildings.