Should You Be Concerned about Thermal Bridges?
Obviously, it is best to reduce the impact of thermal bridges wherever possible when insulating a building. In order to do this, you need to work out where they will appear and the impact of them. By using good construction techniques, especially when insulating, the effects of thermal bridging can be reduced. The key factors to consider are insulation continuity and airtightness.
In simple terms, poor detailing increases the heat gained from a building through the bridge, which therefore increases the building’s cooling demand and therefore, its cooling costs and associated carbon emissions. A secondary effect of poor detailing can be a warmer internal temperature around and along the bridge, which can mean an increased risk of surface condensation or mould growth.
Insulation continuity involves making sure that there is a continuous layer of insulation at junctions. For example, on concrete floors we recommend using an insulation upstand. Good air tightness means making sure that the unintentional air leakage from the building is kept to a minimum and correctly sealing joints between construction elements is one method of helping to achieve this.
Good details should include process sequences alongside calculated psi values, providing guidance on how to build a junction, whilst achieving good thermal continuity and minimising air leakage. Good detailing can assist significantly in achieving Building Regulations compliance.