As architects increase the insulation and tightness of building envelopes, the contribution to heating and cooling energy loss of the structural elements present in the envelope increases. Here are some images to illustrate – if not quantify – some of the common conditions that the structural engineer can improve upon.
The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) Thermal Bridging Task Committee is developing information on this topic, and compiling ways to detail structural elements that intersect building envelopes to minimize this energy loss. They expect to have a document developed by the end of 2012.
James A. D’Aloisio is an Infraspection Institute-trained thermographer, and a principal with Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt, East Syracuse, N.Y. He is a member of the SEI’s Sustainability Committee, and Chair of the SEI’s Thermal Bridging Task Committee.