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New Construction Materials Prevent Thermal Bridges

23 January 2004

New Construction Materials Prevent Thermal Bridges Composites can reduce heat losses by as much as 20% in some windows and doors, solving many construction problems involving thermal bridges in windows, doors, facades, etc.

Nearly half the energy for heating in newer buildings in Denmark disappears as lost heat through windows and doors in which frame and sill structures often insulate poorly. This figure could be reduced significantly if manufacturers became better at utilizing new materials such as GRPs, says Dr Svend Svendsen who is professor of Building Energy Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark.

""There is major potential in plastic composites. GRPs are a strong and durable insulation material that is suitable for use in frames and sills – either alone or combined with wood, aluminium and PVC. With GRPs, it is quite simple to reduce heat losses by 20% or more in some windows and doors,"" says Svend Svendsen, referring to more detailed information in materials published by his institute.

Keener requirements to environment, energy saving and durability in buildings mean that plastic composites will be used increasingly during coming years.

""Manufacturers of windows and doors can continue to use the materials they prefer for reasons of appearance or maintenance, but can combine them with GRPs to prevent thermal bridges; for example, aluminium on the outside, wood on the inside and plastic composites in the middle. By making sills narrower, it is also possible to reduce heat loss and increase solar gain and thus improve the energy balance,"" says Svend Svendsen.

At Fiberline Composites in Kolding, Denmark, the company is experiencing growing interest in its GRP profiles.

""Plastic composites combine the strength and durability of aluminium and steel with high insulation properties. This means GRP profiles can be used to great advantage as load-carrying material and insulation in, for example, window frames, door sills, sun lounges, conservatories and facades,"" says Peter Kidmose, an engineer at Fiberline. ""We are experiencing major interest from architects who want new design options. They want to work with light and space, and want narrower frame and sill structures to increase solar gain and generally achieve a lighter, friendlier expression.""





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