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Building Envelope: How to Avoid Energy Loss
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Building Envelope: Sealing Leaks and Stopping Thermal BridgingPt. 3: Building Envelope: Keep Water Out of the RoofPt. 4: Air Barriers Improve Energy Efficiency in Building EnvelopesPt. 5: Thermal Scans of Roof Systems Can Identify Wet Insulation
Faced with continuing dramatic increases in energy costs, maintenance and engineering managers are scrambling to evaluate ways to make new and existing buildings more energy efficient. Most concepts for energy efficiency include lighting use and more efficient mechanical systems.
But the building envelope also is a key element of energy efficiency, primarily affecting heating and cooling, although most see it merely as a barrier against moisture. Besides making the envelope more energy efficient, designing and constructing it in conjunction with the mechanical system will make a building’s heating and cooling much more efficient.
Several culprits lead to energy losses through the building envelope, including air leaks, wet insulation and thermal bridging. To construct an energy-efficient, reliable, and functional building envelope, managers need to understand the envelope, as well as material selection and detailing.