Thermal Evaluation of Common Locations of heat Loss in Sandwich Wall Panels

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

17th International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering


ASCE Library


Duluth, Minnesota

Publication Date



Structural engineers typically detail a concrete structure as they have always done in the past, often based on a limited understanding of thermal behavior, with the intention of structural and fabrication efficiency. However, with renewed focus on energy consumption, the desire for thermally efficient buildings is increasing. Poor connection details can create significant thermal bridging, which limits thermal efficiency and can even cause premature degradation through condensation. Thermal bridging occurs when heat transfer is given a path through a more conductive material like concrete or steel rather than insulation, resulting in increased heat loss. By nature, concrete sandwich wall panels tend to be highly efficient at preventing heat loss in the middle of the panel, with greatest heat loss occurring at the connections. This project partnered with tilt-up and precast contractors and engineers to perform infrared thermographic inspections of concrete sandwich wall panel structures for window, door, roof, foundation, and insulation termination details currently in use. This study investigates heat loss of concrete sandwich wall panel structures to identify where thermally efficient details are needed for use in future design of concrete sandwich wall panels to reduce energy use and heat loss, increase sustainability, and lessen the environmental impact of concrete sandwich wall panel structures.