The enhanced fabric energy performance of masonry construction has been achieved through a range of measures including higher standards of insulation, airtightness and thermal bridging. However, a unique benefit of concrete and masonry remains, its inherent thermal mass, which can boost the performance of low energy heating systems and also provide some useful resilience to the growing problem of overheating in new homes.
Thermal bridging (or cold-bridging) is not a new issue or concept, but as the U-values of walls and floors has improved and airtightness has increased, the percentage of lost energy that passes through thermal bridges has increased. Therefore it has become increasingly important for designers, product suppliers and builders to attend to thermal bridges. Masonry construction can respond to this issue and design information is available Thermal Bridging Details for Junctions.
To address this, a range of high-performance masonry construction details have been developed and are freely available. These cover all the usual methods of construction and materials involved. Use of these details goes a long way to helping optimise fabric performance and is highly recommended.