In construction, the building envelope is what lies between the interior and the exterior of a building. This includes the foundation of the building, the ceiling and roof, the floor, and the walls of the building. Each of these parts has to connect to the other in a seamless way in order to create a perfectly insulated interior. This part of building construction is extremely important because it has an effect on several basic functions of the building.
For one, the building envelope provides structural support. The way the foundation and walls are built is essential in creating a sturdy structure, or a base, for the rest of the building. This is one of the main functions of construction because a well-constructed envelope is necessary to simply keep the structure standing. The building’s design must be measured and carried out meticulously to ensure that there are no open edges, cracks between the windows and walls and imperfections between the roof and the walls, or between the walls and the foundation.
A building’s envelope is also important in creating proper insulation for the interior of the building. A good building envelope should be airtight, without anything that could create an air leak or introduce moisture from the outdoors into the building. An important element of the envelope is the insulation used in walls and roof. The materials used for roofing and to line the walls must be adequately installed to create that necessary airtight seal.
This can prevent damaging moisture and air from entering the building. This is an extremely important function of the envelope because proper insulation makes a property energy-efficient; it prevents the loss of heat. However, there is an even more important reason why buildings should be properly insulated: the development of dangerous mold as a result of excess moisture accumulation. So not only can a properly sealed building save you money, it can save your life.
Additionally, good building envelopes which prevent drafts and other air leaks allow for tighter control of the air pressure inside as well as the temperature. Without that, your cooling and heating sources are constantly fighting the exterior elements that are making their way inside the building. Not only is this expensive, it makes being inside the building uncomfortable. For example, an office where the air conditioning system has been shut off all weekend would take longer to cool on Monday morning if the building design allows for leaks and drafts. The envelope provides you with the ability to adequately control the quality of the air, making the interior of the building more comfortable and pleasant.
For these reasons, the building envelope is an extremely important part of the construction of a building. Whether you are working to develop a new home or commercial property or you are trying to improve the energy-efficiency of an established structure, you can always make changes to the envelope to improve its ability to seal the interior of the building from harsh exterior elements that can be damaging and dangerous. Improvements can be made to reduce flaws in a building’s envelope.