Energy Efficiency - The Building Envelope / Building Shell

Building ShellNever over estimate your building envelop – it is very important.

Buildings have construction flows that waste energy, reduce comfort and can encourage building deterioration over time. Understanding building science and construction characteristics can help you locate and correct these flaws. Thus protect your investment, be more comfortable, and save money on your energy bills. Every BrickKicker Home Inspection includes a check to see if we can save you money and natural resources. This includes areas you may need better insulation, weatherstripping, or caulking to make your home as energy efficient as possible.

Building materials have different thermal conductivities. Metals such as aluminum and steel conduct heat rapidly, while insulating materials such as mineral fiber and plastic foam conduct heat slowly. The thermal conductance of wood, masonry, and plastic are between these extremes.

The building shell is comprised of its foundation, bottom/top floor(s), exterior walls, and roof assembly. These components generally have at least two layers with a cavity between. For example, a wall has interior sheathing and exterior siding; the rood assembly has a ceiling inside and a roof outside.

The building envelope has seams at edges, corners, and around openings are the obvious thermal weak points, containing heat – conductive structural members and leaky joints between building materials.

Penetrations through insulation and air barriers occur where mechanical and electrical components pass through the building shell. These are often major flaws in the building shell. Sealing these breaches and sealing the bottom sill plate and top sill plate in your framing structure can prevent air leakage into the interior wall cavity and thus into your conditioned space.

building shellProtrusions and indentations to the building's shell increase seams and create areas where the insulation and air barrier are not continuous. These protrusions include windows, dormers, and porches. Indentations include recessed entrances, porches and windows. These building envelope irregularities allow air leakage between indoors and outdoors and convection within the building cavities.

Correction of the thermal and air breaches in the building shell / envelope can save on your energy cost, better comfort in your conditioned space, and will help save our natural resources. The building envelope of your homes are very important and should never be taken for granted.

Remember – You Can't Correct What You Don't Detect.