The recent drive towards sustainable building construction has placed new emphasis on the provision of durable wall assemblies that provide a high effective resistance to heat flow (R-Value).
The authors’ practice focuses on large multiresidential, commercial and institutional buildings constructed of concrete, steel, masonry and glazing systems. In these types of buildings thermal performance has not historically been treated as a high priority item. Now, however, the requirements of sustainability programs such as LEED are requiring architects to design wall systems that provide high levels of thermal resistance. Architects are often shocked at the difference between effective R-value of a proposed opaque wall assembly and the nominal R-value of installed insulation materials. The difference is a result of the thermal bridges associated with structural elements and connections that pass through the building thermal envelope.