If you've driven into downtown Pittsburgh over the last few months, you have probably noticed that the new PNC Tower has become a prominent figure in the city skyline. Once completed, the tower will boast a number of innovative and sustainable technologies. It is slated to be the world's greenest skyscraper, featuring a breathable double skin facade and integrated passive systems to both heat and cool the building.
One of the systems that we found particularly interesting in the tower design was the thermal break technology called Isokorb by Schock. In order to understand thermal break technology, one must first understand the term thermal bridge. Thermal bridges occur when the heat/cold is transferred by a material with a higher thermal conductivity through an assembly with a lower thermal conductivity. For example, a wood stud has a much higher thermal conductivity than the insulation that would typically surround it. So the wood stud acts as the thermal bridge by transferring more heat than the insulation, reducing the wall's overall thermal performance.
To embrace the high performance goals of the PNC Tower project, the incorporation of Ikosorb CM thermal break modules are being installed along the edge of the tower's interior section of the double skin facade. This unique installation will improve the the envelope's energy performance while preventing the risk of condensation and mold growth. Below is an image of the Schock Ikosorb CM module.