Thermal and Hygrothermal Performance Monitoring of Advanced Insulation Materials Used in Curtain Wall Spandrel Panels

Concerns over global warming and climate change have been influencing every aspect of the built environment. An effective way to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings is to reduce the thermal transmission through exterior building envelopes. These new thrusts towards increased energy efficiency are providing reinvigorated impetus to develop new technologies and solutions for energy efficient exterior building envelope constructions. The proposed research initiative will focus on the development and demonstration of energy efficient building envelope solutions applicable to both existing and new buildings.

We plan to conduct long term field testing and monitoring of spandrel panels utilizing new insulation technologies. Once the panels have been installed, monitoring of the thermal and hygrothermal performance will be conducted over a two year period with full exposure to actual extreme environmental and occupancy use conditions. The modified spandrel panels will utilize thin aerogel-based hybrid insulation technology and be configured in an attempt to alleviate thermal bridging issues associated with current spandrel panel design. At the end of the project, the goal is to have proven the validity of the modified spandrel panel design for use in both new and retrofitted curtain wall systems. The process, progress, and results will be discussed.