Envelope

This month the Multifamily Energy Program is highlighting the New Construction Envelope Bundle. Improved building envelopes have multiple benefits for both building owners and occupants.

  • For building owners and developers, an improved envelope can lead to longer life cycles for the building and an overall more durable structure that is less likely to be vulnerable to mold, mildew, or rot.
  • Occupant comfort is determined primarily by two factors: relative humidity and mean radiant surface temperatures. For this reason, the temperature of walls and windows will influence comfort even more than the air temperature.

Walls perform significantly better when a continuous insulation layer is installed on the exterior wall of the building (either as a separate layer, or as insulated sheathing or insulated siding). Continuous insulation reduces thermal bridging which occurs when heat is lost through a less insulated or more conductive portion of a building’s exterior. Ultimately, thermal bridging results in a less comfortable home that is more expensive to heat and cool. Continuous insulation creates an uninterrupted thermal barrier that extends across structural components, eliminating thermal bridges.

Implement the Multifamily Energy Program’s New Construction Envelope Bundle to improve overall wall performance. These measures will reduce heat loss through windows and enable more consistent temperatures on the internal side of exterior walls. Learn more about this program bundle in the Program Manual.

Refer to the following resources and tools to design a better performing building envelope.

  • Building Science Advisor: The Department of Energy and Oakridge National Laboratory have partnered on a tool that promotes better-informed decisions regarding energy efficient and moisture durable building envelope solutions for developers, builders, and architects.
  • Construction Instruction: An excellent resource to help builders, architects, and developers specify and install continuous insulation. Construction Instruction provides resources and training videos, which are available both online and as a mobile app.
  • Ekotrope Wall Calculator: This tool allows you to quickly and easily determine the overall effective R-value and cost of wall assemblies.

Utilizing the tools mentioned above, you can ensure that the correct combination of exterior insulation and building materials are used to create walls that will perform for both durability and comfort.

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