The Latest on Steel Stud Walls

September/October 2004
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2004 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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September 01, 2004
      Q.We are interested in building our own home in Northern California, just east of Sacramento. It is our understanding that steelframed homes are considered more energy efficient than wood-framed homes.What do you think?         A. Steel stud wall systems for residential and commercial buildings are gaining in popularity. If you want to build with steel, you need to know some of its limitations as a building material. Steel is a much better conductor of heat than wood, so steel studs can actually degrade the thermal performance of walls. But the technology is improving, and it can be a good choice for use in building your home.         Several wall configurations have been developed to improve the thermal performance of steel framing. During the last decade, ORNL has tested and analyzed most of the steel framing systems available today. Our experimental and theoretical study has focused on the thermal efficiency of different traditional and unconventional methods of improving steel stud wall thermal performance. It proved that steelframed walls can be as efficient as wood stud walls (see “Steel Stud Walls: Breaking the Thermal Bridge,&...

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