Building enclosures, also known as building envelopes, are a design concept that is used to make it easier to heat and cool the area inside a building, manage water, and control the flow of air. They consist of different features above, below, and along the sides of the house. This is not the same as the thermal envelope, which is the insulation system surrounding a building. Well-functioning building enclosures work best when designed in the planning stage of a building. However, it is possible to retrofit some of the modern protective concepts into older homes and commercial buildings. Here is a look at the features of a building enclosure, and the job that it performs.
What Features are Included in a Building Enclosure?
Building envelopes include several features, including the roof, the wall and windows above ground, the walls below ground, and the base floor system. They include all of the layers of matter surrounding a building, from the outer siding to the wood or drywall to wallpaper. They even include the deliberate air gap between window panes.
Air Flow Control
A properly configured building enclosure can help keep air flowing in a way that is helpful to the home or building. Humid air is allowed to escape to avoid condensation and mildew in unheated portions of homes. Air movement allows efficient heating and prevents stagnation. Air escapement is thoughtful, and prevents losing expensive heat or air conditioning during the extreme temperature months.
The control of water is an important part of building protection, and a major function of a building enclosure. A roof is one of the most important water control features in a building. The pitch of slope, roof ventilation systems for avoiding condensation, basement sealing and drainage systems are all part of a whole-building water repellent system. Good systems think not only about avoiding the penetration of water into a home or building, but also think about where the repelled water will go, so it does the least amount of erosive damage possible during large storm events.
The integrity of a building enclosure is an important part of controlling the interior part of the building. This is directly linked to air flow and water flow. Thermal imaging is often used to find areas where water or air is leaking in or out, disturbing the integrity of the enclosure.
For more information on building enclosures or to learn more about insulation, contact USI online to find a branch near you and get a free quote. USI believes in excellence in every step of the process and ensures timely completion and quality of service, time after time.
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