Passive House Energy Rating

Thermal Bridge Free Construction

To maintain consistent, comfortable temperatures wall assemblies must not only be well insulated, but thermal bridge free.

Passive Homes are super insulated structures that drastically reduce the heating and cooling loads. Most passive homes require so little heating, that it is often said these homes can be heated with a hair dryer.

What is a Thermal Bridge?

Hight Efficiency Mechanical Heat Exchage

Source: Building Science Corporation Newsletter #49: Aqua Tower and Infra Red by Fluke Corp

A thermal bridge is an area of extreme heat transfer caused either by a conductive material crossing through an insulation layer or a geometric transition in the thermal boundary.  Commonly found at studs, plumbing penetrations, steel beams, and balconies, thermal bridges can significantly reduce the overall R-Value of an assembly.  Passive House buildings are thoughtfully designed to eliminate thermal bridges, thereby mitigating energy loss.

A commonly used example showing the extreme heat transfer through cantilevered balconies on the Aqua tower in Chicago.

Super insulated wall assemblies not only reduce energy consumption, but they greatly increase the long-term durability of the homes envelope, by maintaining consistent surface temperatures through the assembly, which greatly if not completely eliminates the possibility of mold formation.

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