What is the building envelope? It’s the boundary between the interior and the exterior of a building. It is one of the most important components in building design due to its role in the maintenance and protection of a structure. The envelope includes many components of a building: roof, walls, floors, windows and doors, and a quality construction can enhance the architectural design whilst improving the thermal performance of a building.
The Building Envelope and Energy Efficiency
A good building envelope design is one of the easiest ways to significantly increase the performance of a commercial building. The overall construction plays an important role in controlling the levels of light, ventilation and heat flow.
A common measure of a quality building envelope is whether it can allow for the ventilation of fresh air whilst protecting the structure from air leakage. Natural weather conditions such as strong winds can increase the amount of air that escapes through the envelope, particularly if the envelope and fenestration components are not sealed correctly. Therefore, by restricting the passage of air, it is possible to increase the energy efficiency of a building.
Adding thermal insulation to a building envelope has proved to be cost effective way to reduce energy bills with both new build projects and refurbishments. Insulation provides resistance to energy flow thereby reducing the amount of energy required to heat or cool a building throughout the year. Maximising sunlight in the design by incorporating glazing can also contribute to the reduction of energy consumption.
The arrangement of windows and doors can have a significant effect on building envelope efficiency. Maximising sunlight with glass and well-sealed energy efficient windows can be significant in design, but regulating the size and orientation in a large commercial premise is essential to balance the flow of heat generated from natural light.
Contact a Specialist
A building envelope specialist can bring quality experience to a new build or refurbishment project and assess the long term risks and practicalities of an envelope design. Sage BEC specialise in commercial building envelopes and work with leading manufacturers. Find out more about our commercial building envelope service or get in touch with our team to discuss your project.