Thermal Break Strategies for Cladding Systems in Building Structures

Research purpose

The project will investigate the structural and thermal performance of improved thermally broken assemblies that bridge building envelopes in steel-framed structures to enhance the energy efficiency of a broad range of steel building structures. Examples of such assemblies include cladding shelf angle assemblies, supports for rooftop equipment, and support for cladding projections such as exterior light shelves, canopies, or shading devices. The project includes studying thermal break strategies such as the incorporation of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) shims between exterior elements and their steel attachments. The research will include ensuring the use of FRP or related technologies within steel connections is safe and effective. The resulting options for designing thermal breaks will help mitigate the unnecessary loss of energy in steel structures and will open a new range of products for use in the building industry. Structural engineers and building owners will benefit from the results of this research through having cost-effective options for mitigating the loss of energy in steel buildings. A final report will be issued at the project completion, in keeping with a complete dissemination plan, which will include a discussion of all key methodologies and results from this project.

Northeastern University
Project Area
Structural Engineering
CPF research grant #
Award amount
Grant period
Jul 2012 - Jun 2015
Grant Status
Principal Investigator
Professor Jerome F. Hajjar
Industry champions

Mark D. Webster – Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger
James A. D’Aloisio – Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt

CPF allies

Thermal Break Strategies for Cladding Systems in Building Structures (04-12)
Kara D. Peterman, Justin Kordas, Julieta Moradei, Kyle Coleman, and Jerome F. Hajjar,
James A. D’Aloisio
Mark D. Webster, Jason Der Ananian