What is a building envelope? How does it impact energy consumption?
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What is a building envelope? How does it impact energy consumption?

A building envelope refers to the physical separator between the interior and exterior environments. It includes the walls, roof, windows, doors, and foundation. The functional purpose of the building envelope is to separate and protect the interior space from the outside elements, such as weather, temperature fluctuations, and moisture.

A commercial building envelope plays a crucial role in the energy efficiency in multiple ways:

Insulation: The rating and thickness of insulation in the walls, roof, and foundation greatly influence its energy efficiency. Proper insulation helps reduce heat transfer between the interior and exterior, assisting with the building’s ability to maintain warmth in winter and cooler internal temperatures in summer without relying heavily on heating or cooling systems.

Air Leaks: Gaps, cracks, and other small openings in the building envelope can lead to significant energy losses. Proper air sealing ensures that conditioned air stays inside the structure, reducing the load on heating and cooling systems. It also prevents infiltration of outdoor air, which can affect indoor air quality and comfort.

Windows and Doors: Energy-efficient windows and doors with high-performance glazing, proper seals, and insulation help minimize heat transfer and air leakage. They can also allow for natural daylighting while reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.

Solar Heat Gain: The design and orientation of windows and shading devices can impact the amount of solar heat gain entering the building. Strategic placement of windows and the use of shading elements such as overhangs or blinds can help control heat gain in summer while allowing for passive solar heating in winter.

Moisture Management: A well-designed building envelope also includes measures to manage moisture infiltration and condensation, which may result in mold growth, structural damage, and decreased energy efficiency.

Overall, a properly designed and constructed building envelope can significantly reduce energy consumption, improve indoor comfort, and lower utility costs over the lifespan of a building. Investing in energy-efficient building envelope components during construction or renovation can lead to long-term savings and environmental benefits.

Building Energy Audits Include Envelope Assessment

The ASHRAE energy audit process includes a “whole-building” approach, utilizing software to accurately model how the brick-and-mortar would respond to changes in the energy systems. This step is where the energy engineering process digs deep to evaluate and propose efficient energy solutions, such as HVAC retrofits and architectural modifications to walls, windows, and your roof.

The EPCO team of professionals promises to utilize a comprehensive approach to energy audits and deliver an advanced strategic plan that will provide quantifiable Economic, Environmental, and Experiential benefits.