Structural Engineering: Thermal Efficiency Designs and Energy Audits

26 September 2019

This post presents a summary of conventional and sustainable energy optimizing designs, all of which can be implemented by a skilled team of construction professionals. The tech covered here talks about emerging engineering disciplines, plus several long-established heat management strategies. Regulating these Green Construction codes, new energy auditing techniques deliver exceptional thermal efficiency savings. By monitoring those savings, intelligently implemented structural alterations develop even faster.

Structural Engineering: Grass Root Energy-Saving Strategies

Let’s see, smart thermostats are popular. With their microprocessors capable of learning an occupant’s room heating habits, thermal efficiency improvements are an immediate upshot. However, all the smart tech in the world won’t yield positive results if the structure the heating is installed inside isn’t energy-efficient. Structural engineers go beyond single system solutions. That means the smart thermostats fit somewhere in a thermal efficiency optimizing plan, but then so does a solar heating grid, plus several other heat-retaining structural assets.

Construction-Based Thermal Sustainability

Granted, an energy optimizing program will promote low-energy water pumps and solar panels. They’ll even tell a project head how heating tariffs can be reduced by putting excess electrical energy back into the grid. Back to the subject at hand, consulting engineers can add or subtract windows or relocate those open surfaces so that they focus warm sunlight into cool spaces. Using thermal imaging instruments, consultants also examine steel and cladding materials. On spotting a thermal leakage zone, the consulting professional will likely advise a change in a structure’s thermal envelope. That move might also necessitate the recruitment of a computer modelling program.

Energy Auditing Technology

That brings us nicely onto thermal conservancy, a science that’s intended to maximize a structure’s thermal envelope. Remember, layers of wall insulation prevent energy from escaping buildings. Double-glazed windows are another good feature to have in a thermal conservancy plan. But what about a deeper structural engineering strategy? Back to the thermal imagers, an engineer can see what’s happening underneath the masonry and concrete cladding. Looking deep, he sees that the steel in the building frame soaks up heat. To prevent such losses, advanced heat envelope improvements must be implemented by top-tier master engineers.

Again, solar panels and wall insulation are installed alongside smart thermostats and double-glazed windows, but that’s not the end of the matter. After using an energy audit, after charting temperature trends and heat losses across every exposed surface, the recorded thermal transients indicate a structural issue. Are the losses soaking into a buried steel plate or travelling along a structural beam? Are they using the metal framework as one giant heat sink? That’s not a question that can be answered by a contractor; it’s a matter that must be addressed by a structural engineering service.

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