When buildings are designed, we often think about thick insulation, innovative new heating solutions and making sure the building is airtight but did you know that as building insulation levels and air tightness have improved the importance of efficient junction details has become more apparent. Studies have found that in a modern efficient home thermal bridges could account for up to a third of heat losses.


With that in mind let’s look at what thermal bridges are, and why they are important to get right?


So, what are thermal bridges?


As the heat within the building escapes through a ‘path of least resistance’, any place where there is a break in the building’s insulation provides a weak spot in thermal performance known as a thermal bridge.  ‘Geometrical Thermal Bridges’ are of particular concern as these are common throughout the whole building and can occur more frequently with complicated building designs.

Examples of these junctions include:

  • Reveals surrounding windows and doors
  • Junction between external walls and floor
  • Junction between external walls and roof
  • Building corners
  • Junctions between dwellings


With that background out of the way, lets explore why these details are important to get right and why calculations could bring value to your project.


Why are thermal bridging details important?


Clearly the benefits of reducing heat loss and energy bills will be appealing for most but there are many other advantages of ensuring good thermal detailing such as a reduced risk of condensation and mould growth – poor junction design can lead to cold spots both within the property and the structure itself, which may cause condensation and mould growth. Excessive mould growth can lead to poor air quality and health issues for the building occupants.


With ever increasing carbon reduction targets expected to be introduced, focus on junction detailing could be a great option for new construction projects to reach these enhanced targets.


Although there will always be some form of heat loss through the building junctions, attention to detail in the design and building process will help limit this as much as possible. Our Sustainability Consultants can advise on the effects of thermal bridging within your building design, reviewing architectural details against best practice and providing guidance for improvements by using thermal analysis.


Get in touch to find out more.


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Written by Owain Morgan | Sustainability Consultant