Can Your Home’s Building Envelope Design Affect Energy Efficiency?
The answer to this question is most definitely ‘yes.’ Older, non-weatherized homes can feel the full effects of inefficient, leaky building envelope designs. In contrast, a home with a tight envelope has very little heat and air transfer between the indoors and outdoors. Homes with envelopes that lack structural integrity tend to be drafty and highly susceptible to temperature changes.
The two main components of an airtight and watertight home are 1) having the right type of insulation installed correctly; and 2) careful sealing of all areas that are prone to air leakage. Those areas include windows, doors, attics, walls, ceilings and your home’s basement and foundation.
Preventing Thermal Transfer
The basic construction of your home can also have a major effect on building envelope design. One option during the home building process involves using continuous insulation with as few “cold joints” as possible. These are the stud locations in a home’s envelope that aren’t insulated or well sealed. Heat can transfer through these areas easier than through insulating materials, which are designed to resist thermal transfer. Designs that feature continuous insulation, with fewer gaps for cold joints, can make the home envelope designs tighter and more efficient, leading to better comfort and lower heating and cooling bills.
An efficient building envelope design should also stop moisture intrusion that can damage building materials, fixtures and household belongings, as well as lead to damp, uncomfortable and unhealthy air. The first requirement is to keep rain and snow run-off from draining into the foundation with French drains. However, employing tight building practices, for example, with exterior insulation on the foundation, is also advisable. This will help prevent condensation in the basement as well.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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