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Thermal bridging


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By Arne in Houston, TX on 8/12/2010


Thermal bridging a major concern when seeking to build a super-insulated home. When building with a steel frame, thermal bridging is even more significant, because of the much higher conductivity of steel over wood (300% greater). While this may make some people disregard steel as a framing choice, the other benefits of steel as a framing solution drive people to look for solutions to reduce thermal bridging.

Reviewing research and best practices, the solution is to install a thermal break on the outside of the steel frame and the most common method of doing so is rigid-foam insulation.

Another technology that may be employed to reduce thermal bridging is the Delta Stud and Mega Joist manufactured by Steel Form: steelform.us

The Steel Form solution is steel framing that is punched to produce a lattice in the web reducing the cross-sectional area for heat to conduct through. Doing so improves the R-value of cavity insulation by 37% compared to conventional solid-web steel c-studs. The manufacturer claims that Delta Stud reduces thermal bridging to a comparable level with Douglas Fir wood framing of the same depth.

Another production solution available is from DuPont in their Tyvek line. DuPont makes a housewrap that adds R-2.5 when properly installed. 

What solutions are you employing to reduce thermal bridging keeping within the context of green building and the goals of super-insulating a home?

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