Much of the focus in today’s building technology is making the building more secure as well as highly energy efficient. To achieve this a lot of focus is being placed on the building envelope. This refers to the part which divides the outside from the inside thus literally ‘enveloping’ the building. The idea is to make the building envelope more solid. There are four core parts of a building envelope and here are the various tips which you can use to improve them to ensure they offer more protection and they are energy efficient.
1. The bottom floor and foundation wall system
The main threats being prevented here are leaky basements and vaporous sill plates which let in cold air. These two are a common problem in many homes and here is how to prevent that from happening to you.
Use sheet form if you are going to face a problem from ice heaves to insulate your heated floors from the freezing conditions. This helps reduce the problem especially when it is hard to get to the frost line.
If you are going to face problems with damp soil and water infiltration to your basement or floor the use water proofing membranes during construction. These structures provide a long term and reliable protection for your basement.
Sealants can be used for the areas where you need to get in utilities or experience small drafts. You can also use caulking and weather stripping as alternatives. These measures keep the cold air out. For larger areas, use spray foam which has the added advantage of providing a heat barrier.
2. The wall design
For a solid above grade wall system, the design is crucial. The first part of the design should be insulation and this can be achieved in a number of ways depending on your budget and circumstances. You can blow cellulose in a retrofit, add sheet foam to the exterior or use fiberglass batting.
In case of extreme winds and low temperatures you are better of using studs in an offset design to prevent transfer of heat. To prevent air from entering the building you can consider a structure wrap which works for both commercial and residential buildings. This gives you control on where you want air to enter the building from.
3. Through wall system
This covers doors, windows and utility outlets and inlets. Look for windows that offer a variety of technologies that provide more insulation especially between spaces and seek to reflect heat back to the house. As for doors, they should be properly fitted and insulated to prevent thermal bridging and withstand heavy winds.
4. Roofing seals
Roofs have to be well sealed to prevent moisture from building inside and prevent significant damage as well as health conditions. Using sealants on any flashing, vents and pipes protruding as well as in any roof valleys ensures you have no leaks and water cannot get in. Further invest in a roof that can withstand harsh weather over long periods especially harsh winds.