One of the toughest challenges in home energy efficiency is eliminating thermal bridging.
You can't stop physics totally, but you can slow it down. Basically, heat moves from warm areas or materials to cold areas or materials. In the winter, heat moves through the walls of your home to the cold air outside. Wall insulation helps of course.
But in many wood frame homes with insulation only in the space between the studs, a lot of heat is lost through the wooden studs.
In the average frame home wood studs comprise up to 25 percent of the wall surface. So even if you put a high level of insulation in the walls, about a fourth of the wall actually has a very low R-value, in the 2 to 4 range. That's like leaving one wall un-insulated.
Modern building science and building codes recognize this flaw in the wall and are calling for continuous insulation. A layer of continuous exterior insulation over the walls and studs reduces thermal bridging. This keeps the inside air in the house and outside air out, helping homes stay cool in summer and warm in winter.
The benefits of continuous insulation is one of the areas where insulated concrete forms really stand out.
The interlocking foam blocks of an ICF wall, filled with concrete, create a layer of continuous insulation, essentially eliminating thermal bridging through the wall. ICF homes are also 10 percent or more air tight that traditional frame homes.
If you're trying to design a high performance home and meet new building codes, check out insulated concrete forms to solve your thermal bridging challenges.
This blog was developed by Fox Blocks. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.
/ A Detroit native, David T. Morris, LEED® Green Associate, used his drive for entrepreneurship, innovation & new product development to develop a patented product and later took a new building product to market. In 2012, he became U.S. East Regional Manager with Fox Blocks, a division of Airlite Plastics Company, managing ICF sales in seven states. Since 2006, David has delivered more than 140 IFA/ICF training seminars to contractors, plus another 120 presentations to architects and engineers. He is a featured speaker and SME on High-Performance Buildings, and his efforts have resulted in environmentally friendly construction being specified for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout the country.