EFFECTS OF STUDS ON HEAT LOSS AND INSULATION VALUE OF WALLS
Corporate Extension Service, University of Alaska
USDA & SEA Grant Cooperation
Richard D. Seifert, Energy Specialist
A considerable amount of heat is lost through wall sections of framed buildings where studs are located due to their high conductivity. In the past, this conductive effect of studs was neglected in calculating heat loss. Only the insulated portion of walls, between studs, was considered when testing for insulation effectiveness, rather than the entire wall, as a unit.
But depending on wall thickness – 2 x 4, 2 x 6, etc. – and spacing of studs -12, 16 or 24” o.c. – heat loss through framing members, can vary from 33% to 49 % of total heat loss (higher in cold weather). Some of these calculated values are shown in Table 1. They are based on a typical section of wall, 8 ft. x 8 ft. in area, to provide a comparison of the effect which framing members have on heat loss through an exterior wall. The comparison of different stud spacing for a 2 x 4 stud wall is given, along with the percentage of total heat loss through the studs. This effect is significant. From this example, Table 1 calculations indicate that as much as 44 percent of a wall’s heat loss can be dissipated through the studs themselves in the absence of a complete thermal break.