Do rainscreen cladding systems need to be thermally efficient?

When it comes to thermal efficiency, architects and engineers will look at the big picture.

In a nutshell:

  • Rainscreen cladding can contribute to the thermal performance of a building
  • Depending on the building design, the main backing wall may provide all the insulation required
  • Rainscreen cladding may be fully insulated or only provide basic protection against the elements

As well as the thermal performance and insulation of roofs, walls, glazing and floors, it’s important to consider the energy efficiency of heating and cooling systems, ventilation and lighting.

And rainscreen cladding systems? Yes, they could have a part to play too. But not always...

The thermal efficiency of walls

Depending on the building design, the main backing wall may provide all the insulation required. Alternatively, the thermal requirements may only be achieved within the rainscreen cladding system... or by a combination of the two.

Insulated or uninsulated cladding?

  • Uninsulated cladding is attached to the outer skin of a building. Although it will offer some thermal improvement and protect the building from the elements, the thermal requirements will be achieved by the backing wall.
  • It can be more efficient to place insulation on the outside of the building as part of a rainscreen cladding system. An insulation layer is placed in the ventilated cavity between the backing wall and the cladding.

Modern methods of construction

When combined with a structural frame system (SFS) or light steel frame (LSF) construction, rainscreen cladding systems can be an efficient method of providing the required insulation.

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