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Tackling Thermal Bridging Creates Energy-Efficient UK Buildings

Why Should I Pay Attention To Thermal Bridging?

Professionals are being advised to 'block it out' when it comes to thermal bridging and ensure that UK homes are more energy-efficient.

Failure to address this issue when it comes to constructing new properties means they will leak heat and may fall short of European legislation.

A new infographic from Marmox vividly illustrates the importance of paying attention to thermal bridging. Experts such as construction consultants, quantity surveyors, SAP assessors and architects can play a key role in driving down European carbon emissions by incorporating their knowledge into the design of new homes.

What is thermal bridging?

Thermal bridging occurs when two materials with different thermal conductivities meet. If one is more conductive than the other, then the heat that would normally be confined within the building escapes.

Significant advances have been made by conventional insulation techniques - such as cavity wall treatments - to reduce thermal transmittance and make homes warmer.

However, thermal bridging is a key secondary problem that needs to be addressed, particularly in areas such as the wall-floor junction or where walls meet windows. It can contribute up to 30 per cent of the heat lost through the fabric of a modern building and contribute towards condensation problems.

Take a look at the infographic to learn more about thermal bridging and insulating homes.

Why is it important to pay attention to thermal bridging?

As you can see from the pictorial information, the total contribution made by home energy use was estimated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to be around 25 per cent of total European carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. More households are attempting to be environmentally-friendly and reduce their contribution to climate change, with thermal bridging providing an opportunity to do so.

Cutting down on heat and cold leakage from buildings by addressing thermal bridging provides opportunities for saving money. More than one-third (38 per cent) of people in the UK stated they were concerned about paying for heating last winter.

Legislation, such as the Energy Performance of Buildings (EBD) Directive and the Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH), place requirements on new and existing buildings, with regards to how their overall efficiency is measured. This is in order to meet a target of a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions across Europe by 2020, compared with 1997 levels.

The EBD Directive states: “For well-insulated buildings with increased energy efficiency, the influence of thermal bridging on the energy consumption will be of major importance.”

How can thermal bridging be tackled?

There are three key ways in which thermal bridging can be addressed and these are defined in the infographic as Accredited Construction Detail, Enhanced Construction Detail and Using a Thermal Bridge Block - with the latter offering a means to save substantial amounts of CO2 and earn points towards the CfSH.

Marmox products such as Thermoblock offer a cost-effective solution to tackling thermal bridging. The thermal bridge block provides a simple means to create better buildings that meet Passivhaus design standards by preventing cold bridging, and can be used at the base of timber frame and masonry walls.

British Board of Agrement-approved Thermoblock is a highly insulating, load-bearing building block that is strong and stable, but lightweight. It replaces the bottom course at the wall floor junction, reducing or eliminating thermal bridging and creating a moisture barrier.