Measuring Pixels: Using Grasshopper to Evaluate Thermal Bridges in Buildings
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Green design is now a ubiquitous term in the profession of architecture, yet the energy performance of buildings in real-world conditions is poorly documented. A large number of buildings use substantially more energy than is predicted during design, and one possible explanation is that designers do not adequately understand the impact of thermal bridging through insulation on the energy use of a building. This study proposes a methodology that uses the parametric design program Grasshopper to quantitatively analyze infrared images for the degree of thermal bridging in a wall assembly. The end result is a user-friendly tool that architects can use to study the relative energy performance of their buildings in the field, giving them an increased understanding of the energy efficiency of their designs. Case studies of various details show a ten to fifty-five percent reduction in the effective R-value of the overall wall assemblies due to thermal bridging.