Exploration and minimization of thermal bridging due to exterior architectural components and analysis of alternative façade installation methods

Forthuber, Sarah
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ASHRAE 90.1 defines thermal bridging as an element that has higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding materials, which creates a path of least resistance for heat transfer. Thermal bridging commonly occurs in building envelope design and can directly impact a building's energy usage, yet it often remains an overlooked and misunderstood concept in practice. An evaluation of existing resources and current practice methods has demonstrated that there is still room for improvement regarding considerations of thermal bridging impact. Current information is largely fragmented in terms of specific material use or usage type. This report provides a critical literature review for better understanding of how engineers can achieve more efficient thermal performance design through a comprehensive understanding of thermal bridging in terms of impact, measurement, and mitigation. This critical literature review is structured into three subsections corresponding to three common façade construction types, those being masonry veneer cladding, cantilever balcony slabs, and steel curtain walls.