Thermal Bridge Modelling
Thermal bridges are thermally weak points in a building’s envelope which allow heat to pass out of the building very quickly. Thermal bridges can account for up to 30% off heat loss in buildings, even where they are perceived to be well insulated. Avoiding bridging is therefore a clear priority.
Thermal bridge calculations are now required on all new build homes to avoid lower default values for thermal performance being applied in your SAP (energy) calculation. * These calculations use models of the proposed building junctions, to examine their heat loss characteristics and to demonstrate the effectiveness of any insulating remedy.
Where we can, we will always seek to avoid thermal bridging through careful consideration of building methods. This is achieved through our highly experienced approach to detailed design and mitigates the need for expensive, often contrived, remedies later down the line.
For Retrofitting of existing buildings, thermal bridges cannot always be avoided. This is where a more holistic approach is required, which considers the interaction of improved insulation and ventilation, including techniques which allow the fabric to ‘breathe’ out excess moisture.
It is important that you obtain the benefits of good thermal design. First off, you will have lower energy consumption and a healthier internal environment. Secondly, it is also important that your building’s energy performance is recognised. Thermal bridge calculations can demonstrate the quality of the detailed design and will improve your scoring under the SAP (energy) calculation methodology, required by national building regulations. Without proof of these details, lower default values are applied which can make the difference between pass and fail for regulatory compliance.
How do we calculate and design out thermal bridges?
We model the junction in 2D using a modelling tool to calculate ‘Psi’ values of the junction (a Psi value is a linear heat loss measurement across the junction). This results in a heat transfer model, in line with BRE BR 497, which highlights temperatures at different surfaces within a construction detail and hence the likelihood for condensation, moisture and mould build-up. We then look at ways of eliminating these risks wherever possible or at the very least minimising the risk. These is then be fed back into the SAP calculation.
If you want to pass building regulations you need to provide a SAP calculation for your dwelling. It’s necessary to prove that your home meets both the carbon emissions and fabric performance standards set out in Part L of the building regulations
How can we help?
Stickland Wright in house team can provide design stage Thermal Bridge Modelling for your projects. We work with clients to meet their additional targets and comply with the building regulations to provide designs that achieve the energy performance targets for dwellings.
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Other Additional Services
SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) is the methodology used by the government to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of dwellings. SAP reports are required for all residential new build projects, some types of residential extension, conversion to dwelling and residential retrofit projects. These reports are the methodology behind the production of EPC calculations. Our in-house team can produce SAP and EPC reports for your projects.
There are a variety of scenarios where thermal and energy modelling of a building may be required, for example to check potential overheating and / or the likely energy demand for efficient sizing of your heating installation. It is always recommended to adopt these tools at an early stage and Stickland Wright have the experience to expertly navigate the process.
Passivhaus and Active House Design Consultants
PassivHaus and Active House are internationally recognised as the leading quality standards for low energy building performance. For projects that aspire to achieve the highest levels of energy efficiency, working to these standards is highly recommended. Stickland Wright have experience in delivering projects with both!