Thermal Conductivity: Why is it the most important rating when it come to home renovation?

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What is Thermal Conductivity?

While searching the web I found many interpretation of this but, all explained it scientific terms making it so confusing.  To keep it simple I will explain it in simple terms.  Here it goes!

Thermal conductivity is heat that transfers through material at a slow rate for example:

When entering a room that has been closed for a while with no windows or doors open it won’t take long for the room to reach thermal equilibrium or equal temperature, meaning all surfaces are the same temperature.

Let’s imagine the room is carpeted on one half and tiled on the other half.  Stepping from the carpet to the tile would seem as though the tile is colder but, they are exactly the same temperature.    It’s the heat from your feet that transfer the warmth to the cold tile floor.  If standing on the tile long enough, your feet will reach equilibrium with the tile and both will be the same temperature.  The heat from your feet travels to the tile floor; this is called Thermal Conductivity, the rate at which heat transfers through material.

Conductivity is the passing of heat energy between two objects which are in direct physical contact. When two objects are in direct contact with each other (like your warm feet on the tile floor) heat energy passes between them.  When your feet are on a cold surface the hot molecules move faster to the cold molecule, spreading the hot object to the cold object and will continue happening until they reach the same temperature (equilibrium).

This brings me to a great natural material with great thermal conductivity.  Cork!  Cork is being introduced to North America.  Sprayed on buildings, it creates a great seal stopping airflow from entering and great thermal conductivity (not allowing heat to escape, saving on utility bills by approximately 18%-50%.  The cork comes in a paste like material and can be trowel or sprayed on (same look as stucco).  Cork is flexible and won’t crack or peel with an array of colours to choose from.  The product comes from Europe and is being used on many of their building today. Cork the new stucco.

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