Building Envelope

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The building envelope is an important factor to be aware of during an Home Energy Audit. It is the boundary line that separate the indoors from the outdoors, and recognizing its function can be critical in maximizing green efficiency. Ultimately, the Building Envelope consists of three layers:

  • The outermost layers – siding or cladding, house wrap (felt) and sheathing. These components all serve the system by diverting bulk water and moisture away from the building. This layer is what is seen on the outside of the building.

  • The middle layer – This contains the structure (wood or steel), and normally the insulation. This is your thermal barrier/protection.
  • The interior layer- is the finish that people see on the inside of the building (drywall, wood slats, plaster, etc.). This normally serves as your air barrier.

The building envelope effects your whole house, therefore on the road to energy efficiency the first step is addressing your building's envelope, keeping it tightly sealed, and making sure your thermal barrier and air barrier are in constant contact is vitally important.Taking care of the building envelope from the onset allows you a fuller grasp on air leakage, moisture intrusion, and heat transfer.

Although properly identifying your building's envelope can be complex, we're here to explain everything and provide you with recommendations for proper sealing systems for your specific needs. Many are tempted or advised to make quick fixes, like new windows or solar panels we strongly recommend testing your building's envelope with an home energy audit before these improvements. This could save you thousands of dollars by pin pointing less costly and more effective solutions.

Contact your local Elm Energy Group office if you are interested in learning about the condition of your building's envelope. It's your first and best step toward a high performing building.

Interested in finding out more? Start conversation with us or call us and we'll wire you over to home performance technician right away to help answer your questions. In the meantime, check out articles below for further reading.

Suggestions for further reading

  • Want to learn the condition of your building's envelope? Learn about a blower door test
  • Interest in hearing about how your whole building is performing? Look into an energy audit