Assessing the Impact of Insulating Historic Masonry Structures

When rehabilitating historic masonry walls, the question of insulating them is often raised. Whether to reduce energy consumption or to improve occupant comfort, insulating masonry is often perceived as beneficial yet it comes with potential pitfalls in terms of the long-term durability of the masonry.

A quick review of 3D thermal analysis will provide better understanding of the real impact insulating masonry wall has on overall thermal performance of the building envelope. Hygrothermal and freeze-thaw potential analysis will provide insight of the factors to be considered when assessing the potential impact of insulating the masonry in terms of material durability. Case studies of mass and transitional (masonry encasing the steel structure) masonry buildings, undergoing building envelope retrofit are presented.

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Stéphane Hoffman, M. Arch., M. Eng., PE

With Master’s studies that combines structural engineering, building science and architecture, Stéphane brings a well-balanced consulting approach to the building envelope; blending scientific analysis with an understanding of aesthetic considerations. He is particularly adept at providing innovative design concepts and construction alternatives that improve durability and increase energy efficiency.


Ivan Lee, P.Eng., LEED AP BD+C

Ivan’s experience includes heat transfer analysis and hygrothermal modelling of building envelope assemblies to determine the risks of damage from moisture accumulation. He has been involved with various condensation analysis projects, as well as 3D thermal modelling to assess thermal bridging details for the Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide (BETB Guide) and the Guide to Low Thermal Energy Demand for Large Buildings (Low TEDI Guide).