ASTM C1155 - 95(2013)

    Standard Practice for Determining Thermal Resistance of Building Envelope Components from the In-Situ Data

    Active Standard ASTM C1155 | Developed by Subcommittee: C16.30

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.06


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    ASTM C1155

    Significance and Use

    5.1 Significance of Thermal Resistance Measurements—Knowledge of the thermal resistance of new buildings is important to determine whether the quality of construction satisfies criteria set by the designer, by the owner, or by a regulatory agency. Differences in quality of materials or workmanship may cause building components not to achieve design performance.

    5.1.1 For Existing Buildings—Knowledge of thermal resistance is important to the owners of older buildings to determine whether the buildings should receive insulation or other energy-conserving improvements. Inadequate knowledge of the thermal properties of materials or heat flow paths within the construction or degradation of materials may cause inaccurate assumptions in calculations that use published data.

    5.2 Advantage of In-Situ Data—This practice provides information about thermal performance that is based on measured data. This may determine the quality of new construction for acceptance by the owner or occupant or it may provide justification for an energy conservation investment that could not be made based on calculations using published design data.

    5.3 Heat Flow Paths—This practice assumes that net heat flow is perpendicular to the surface of the building envelope component within a given subsection. Knowledge of surface temperature in the area subject to measurement is required for placing sensors appropriately. Appropriate use of infrared thermography is often used to obtain such information. Thermography reveals nonuniform surface temperatures caused by structural members, convection currents, air leakage, and moisture in insulation. Practices C1060 and C1153 detail the appropriate use of infrared thermography. Note that thermography as a basis for extrapolating the results obtained at a measurement site to other similar parts of the same building is beyond the scope of this practice.

    5.4 User Knowledge Required—This practice requires that the user have knowledge that the data employed represent an adequate sample of locations to describe the thermal performance of the construction. Sources for this knowledge include the referenced literature in Practice C1046 and related works listed in Appendix X2. The accuracy of the calculation is strongly dependent on the history of the temperature differences across the envelope component. The sensing and data collection apparatuses shall have been used properly. Factors such as convection and moisture migration affect interpretation of the field data.

    5.5 Indoor-Outdoor Temperature Difference—The speed of convergence of the summation technique described in this practice improves with the size of the average indoor-outdoor temperature difference across the building envelope. The sum of least squares technique is insensitive to indoor-outdoor temperature difference, to small and drifting temperature differences, and to small accumulated heat fluxes.

    5.6 Time-Varying Thermal Conditions—The field data represent varying thermal conditions. Therefore, obtain time-series data at least five times more frequently than the most frequent cyclical heat input, such as a furnace cycle. Obtain the data for a long enough period such that two sets of data that end a user-chosen time period apart do not cause the calculation of thermal resistance to be different by more than 10 %, as discussed in 6.4.

    5.6.1 Gather the data over an adequate range of thermal conditions to represent the thermal resistance under the conditions to be characterized.

    Note 2The construction of some building components includes materials whose thermal performance is dependent on the direction of heat flow, for example, switching modes between convection and stable stratification in horizontal air spaces.

    5.7 Lateral Heat Flow—Avoid areas with significant lateral heat flow. Report the location of each source of temperature and heat flux data. Identify possible sources of lateral heat flow, including a highly conductive surface, thermal bridges beneath the surface, convection cells, etc., that may violate the assumption of heat flow perpendicular to the building envelope component.

    Note 3Appropriate choice of heat flow sensors and placement of those sensors can sometimes provide meaningful results in the presence of lateral heat flow in building components. Metal surfaces and certain concrete or masonry components may create severe difficulties for measurement due to lateral heat flow.

    5.8 Light- to Medium-Weight Construction—This practice is limited to light- to medium-weight construction that has an indoor temperature that varies by less than 3 K. The heaviest construction to which this practice applies would weigh 440 kg/m2, assuming that the massive elements in building construction all have a specific heat of about 0.9 kJ/kg K. Examples of the heaviest construction include: (1) a 390-kg/m2 wall with a brick veneer, a layer of insulation, and concrete blocks on the inside layer or (2) a 76-mm (3-in.) concrete slab with insulated built-up roofing of 240 kg/m2. Insufficient knowledge and experience exists to extend the practice to heavier construction.

    5.9 Heat Flow Modes—The mode of heat flow is a significant factor determining R-value in construction that contains air spaces. In horizontal construction, air stratifies or convects, depending on whether heat flow is downwards or upwards. In vertical construction, such as walls with cavities, convection cells affect determination of R-value significantly. In these configurations, apparent R-value is a function of mean temperature, temperature difference, and location along the height of the convection cell. Measurements on a construction whose performance is changing with conditions is beyond the scope of this practice.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers how to obtain and use data from in-situ measurement of temperatures and heat fluxes on building envelopes to compute thermal resistance. Thermal resistance is defined in Terminology C168 in terms of steady-state conditions only. This practice provides an estimate of that value for the range of temperatures encountered during the measurement of temperatures and heat flux.

    1.2 This practice presents two specific techniques, the summation technique and the sum of least squares technique, and permits the use of other techniques that have been properly validated. This practice provides a means for estimating the mean temperature of the building component for estimating the dependence of measured R-value on temperature for the summation technique. The sum of least squares technique produces a calculation of thermal resistance which is a function of mean temperature.

    1.3 Each thermal resistance calculation applies to a subsection of the building envelope component that was instrumented. Each calculation applies to temperature conditions similar to those of the measurement. The calculation of thermal resistance from in-situ data represents in-service conditions. However, field measurements of temperature and heat flux may not achieve the accuracy obtainable in laboratory apparatuses.

    1.4 This practice permits calculation of thermal resistance on portions of a building envelope that have been properly instrumented with temperature and heat flux sensing instruments. The size of sensors and construction of the building component determine how many sensors shall be used and where they should be placed. Because of the variety of possible construction types, sensor placement and subsequent data analysis require the demonstrated good judgement of the user.

    1.5 Each calculation pertains only to a defined subsection of the building envelope. Combining results from different subsections to characterize overall thermal resistance is beyond the scope of this practice.

    1.6 This practice sets criteria for the data-collection techniques necessary for the calculation of thermal properties (see Note 1). Any valid technique may provide the data for this practice, but the results of this practice shall not be considered to be from an ASTM standard, unless the instrumentation technique itself is an ASTM standard.

    Note 1Currently only Practice C1046 can provide the data for this practice. It also offers guidance on how to place sensors in a manner representative of more than just the instrumented portions of the building components.

    1.7 This practice pertains to light-through medium-weight construction as defined by example in 5.8. The calculations apply to the range of indoor and outdoor temperatures observed.

    1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C168 Terminology Relating to Thermal Insulation

    C1046 Practice for In-Situ Measurement of Heat Flux and Temperature on Building Envelope Components

    C1060 Practice for Thermographic Inspection of Insulation Installations in Envelope Cavities of Frame Buildings

    C1130 Practice for Calibrating Thin Heat Flux Transducers

    C1153 Practice for Location of Wet Insulation in Roofing Systems Using Infrared Imaging


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 91.120.10 (Thermal insulation of buildings)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30240000(Portable Structure Building Components)


    DOI: 10.1520/C1155

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