STYRO SYSTEMS CAROLINAS, INC.
The Building Envelope Specialist Since 1982
MEETING THE CODE
To show the effects of thermal bridging, we took a series of pictures of at a project in Charlotte.  The building on the right is steel stud with exterior gypsum and batt insulation.  The one on the right is DOW STYROFOAM with an empty cavity.
This image shows the two buildings completed.  Please note the columns on the front of each building.  Exterior lighting is hanging in this area.  Keep that in mind when viewing the thermal image.
As you can see from this image taken on a 25 degree night, the exterior of the brick on the building to the right (batt insulated) is about 8 degrees warmer than the building to the left (STYROFOAM insulated).  This shows how much energy is being lost through the wall when not properly insulated.
Thermal Bridging
*click the image to zoom*
    We have put together a chart that will help you when it is time to design your next wall system.  In this chart you see both the R and U-Values of a wall using each of our insulating products.  This chart also shows which system will meet the new energy code in each Zone (3-5).  Please reference this chart when designing you next building to determine what system you will need for your climate zone. Please contact us with any questions you may have about this chart, as well as any questions regarding details, specifications, or dew point calculations.
*Click the image to see full screen
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8206 Village Harbor Drive
Cornelius, NC
PHONE: 704-895-6006
FAX: 704-894-9082
    Energy codes are becoming more and more stringent when it comes to designing wall systems these days. Nothing proves this point more than the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. Under this code, all walls must have continuous insulation (CI). That means no more exterior gypsum sheathing walls filled with batt insulation. To meet the code, planning and the proper materials are necessary. At Styro Systems Carolinas, we can help you with both planning and materials, from the exterior of the studs to the exterior of your cladding .  

    When planning your next wall system, you should take notice of the required R-Value in your climate zone, but you shouldn't stop there. More important than the R-Value is the U-Value. The inverse of R, U-Value is the heat transmission coefficient, or the amount of heat transmitted through 1 square foot of building in one hour. In the energy code, you can design your wall based off of either the R-Value chart or the U-Value chart; however designing off the R-Value chart can be misleading.
    As described in the White Paper below, batt insulation's effective R-Value is greatly diminished when used with steel studs. This is because of thermal bridging. Steel studs that are not insulated with Continuous Insulation will act as fins on a radiator, allowing heat to pass through them and escape through your building insulation. Because of this, an R-19 batt will only perform to an R-7.1. This makes it virtually impossible to design a wall with an effective R-Value of more than R-10. This leads to the requirement that buildings be designed with continuous insulation, which is defined by ASHRAE 90.1 as "Insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings".