A thermal bridge is created when materials that are poor insulators come in contact, allowing heat to flow through the path created. Insulation around a bridge is of little help in preventing heat loss or gain due to thermal bridging; the bridging has to be eliminated, rebuilt with a reduced cross-section or with materials that have better insulating properties, or with an additional insulating component (a thermal break).

Thermal or heat bridges in building constructions are often called by the less scientific name "cold bridge".

Thermal bridges are characterized by multi-dimensional heat flow, and therefore by the fact that they cannot be adequately approximated by the one-dimensional models of calculation typically used in norms and standards for the thermal performance of buildings (U-values). Surface moisture due to condensation (typically occurring in such regions as floor-wall connections, window installations, etc.) as well as mould growth in humid environments can also be effectively prevented by means of multi-dimensional evaluation during planning and detail design.

Concrete balconies that extend the floor slab through the building envelope [1] are a common example of thermal bridging.

Classification in constructionEdit

In construction, thermal bridges are classified as:

  • Repeating thermal bridges - where bridges occur following a regular pattern, such that made by wall ties penetrating a cavity wall.
  • Non-repeating thermal bridges - such as the bridging of a cavity wall by a single lintel
  • Geometrical thermal bridges - at the junction of two planes, such as at the corner of a wall.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. Why there are so few green buildings Heavy advertising site!
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