It might not sound like a bad thing, but Thermal Bridging is a big problem in a building envelope and should be avoided wherever possible.
The building envelope is the layer of protection between the occupants of the building and the outside elements. If the outside and inside temperatures are the same, there’s no problem. When there is a difference in temperature between the two environments (warm inside, cold outside), that thermal energy will attempt to transfer through the building envelope. Thermal energy will naturally always travel from hot to cold. The building envelope’s job is to either keep the hot air in (winter) or keep the hot air out (summer). This is achieved by adding insulation. The higher the thermal resistance (R-value) of the insulation, the better the building envelope will perform. When your building envelope is airtight, and has a high effective R-value, it costs a lot less to keep the inside temperature comfortable and stable.
Building envelopes are not built with insulation alone; there are other elements required. Windows, doors, and structural elements like wall studs, floor joists, beams, roof trusses and mechanical penetrations are all common components of a building envelope. Generally, these other components “bridge” between the inside and outside of the building. They also have a much lower thermal resistance than the insulation. This makes thermal bridges out of your windows, doors, studs and other connectors — a freeway for energy loss.
“When a temperature difference is present, heat flow will follow the path of least resistance through the material with the highest thermal conductivity and lowest thermal resistance; this path is a thermal bridge.” – Wikipedia
There’s another complexity to this thermal bridging issue: moisture. As the heat attempts to pass through the building envelope, it carries humidity with it. At some point this warm, humid air meets freezing temperatures. When the warm energy meets the cold, it undergoes a phase change, resulting in condensation. This usually happens inside the building envelope, and is commonly referred to as the dew point. Moisture is the last thing you want in your wall cavity. Trapped water that does not dry can lead to mould or rapid decay of organic components in your building envelope.
The ICE Panel is “thermally broken”. There are no paths through the panel to let varying temperatures indoors, creating a much more consistent and comfortable environment. With the use of inorganic materials like the galvanized steel studs and expanded polystyrene (EPS) core, the ICE Panel creates a higher performing building envelope that is airtight, provides a high R-value, does not provide organic materials for rot or mould, and eliminates thermal bridging.
If you are looking to find out how you could benefit from building with ICE Panels, connect with our sales team at email@example.com or by calling us at 204-726-1426.