As warm air rises and cold air sinks in a conventionally framed wall cavity, a natural phenomenon called thermal or invective looping occurs, wasting valuable energy. Unless the insulation is a solid material to stop this air movement, it doesn’t matter what the insulation’s R-Value is. What good in insulation if heat-carrying air can flow though it and the cavities of the wall? SIPs’ solid insulation core helps eliminate this.
Thermal bridging occurs where there is a continuous element (such as studs within traditionally framed walls, and studs within traditionally framed walls, and stud-to-siding connections) between he cold and warm faces of a wall. These wood elements form a bridge between the inside and outside that can allow heat or cold to pass through by conduction. Simply installing R-19 batt insulation in a stick wall doesn’t mean the whole wall will have a R-19 R-value because there is still a significant amount of thermal bridging in traditionally framed stick walls.
Stick-framed buildings rely on lumber at regular intervals to provide structural support. 15-25% of the shell of a stick-framed home is lumber, compared to as little as 3% in the shell of a typical SIP framed home.
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