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Combating Thermal Bridging in Steel Buildings

Steel elements that bridge across the insulation in a building enclosure cause heating and cooling energy loss in buildings, adversely affecting a building's energy performance, comfort, and longevity. Now, some effective mitigation techniques can be used to combat this issue and new systems are being developed. This presentation, using local case studies, explains the challenges and presents practical solutions. The course will cover the use of manufactured structural thermal break assemblies, proprietary support systems, thermal 'shims', isolation techniques, and others. Thermal capacity of buildings will also be explored from the perspective of system mass, exposed thermal area and the heat propagating properties of materials.

Presented by: Jacinda L. Collins, PE, LEED Green Associate
Jacinda Collins the American Institute of Steel Construction’s Structural Steel Specialist for the city of New York. In addition to her primary role of education and outreach with the design and construction community of New York, she is the steel Subject Matter Expert for architecturally exposed steel and office building design. She serves as chairwoman of the Structural Engineers Association of New York Website Committee and is part of the leadership group for The Knitting Club, an organization for NYC female professionals in the built environment disciplines.

Organized by: Washington DC Building Enclosure Council

Co-Sponsored by: American Institute of Steel Construction


After attending the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe and understand the background of heating and cooling in building structures and the impact of energy use in structures for greater building sustainability and occupant health and comfort;
  • Explore background knowledge on thermal bridging: why it's important in building construction from the perspective of economics, occupant comfort and health, and lifetime structure longevity and sustainability;
  • Explore possible solutions to improved details in building construction that address typical challenge areas of structures, which can help mitigate thermal bridging, considering both cost and energy savings; and
  • Explain how the issue of thermal capacity of buildings will be explored from the perspective of system mass, exposed thermal area and the heat propagating properties of materials – all areas which impact building sustainability and occupant comfort.