Envelope Restoration for Commercial Buildings in British Columbia
The envelope of a commercial building is the physical separator between the conditioned environment inside the building and the unconditioned environment outside of the building - this includes the building’s resistance to air, water, heat, light, and noise.
Restoring the envelope of a commercial building includes all of the elements of the outer shell that maintain a dry and heated or cooled indoor environment and facilitate its climate control. This is a highly specialized area of restoration and architectural engineering practice. Three main areas of concern will be looked at during the restoration of a commercial building’s envelope, including water and vapor control, air control, and thermal envelope.
Water and vapor control includes numerous strategies to create perfect barriers, drainage and water storage systems. These barriers include roofs and walls to resist external water sources, especially wind-driven rain and ice. Often, the roof is also ventilated to help remove moisture from leaks or condensation. Wall systems will also need to be built to resist water, and in some cases to aid in the drying process by including ventilation or rainscreens.
Air control is highly important to consider when renovating commercial buildings. Proper air control will make sure proper air quality, control energy consumption, and avoid condensation.
The thermal envelope of a building is the portion of the building envelope that controls the heat flow within the building. When building the thermal portion of the building envelope, an infrared camera should be used to view anomalies in temperatures within the building. Analysis of these images can be useful in identifying moisture issues from leaks or condensation, as well as issues such as air leakage and insulation issues.
To ensure a properly restores building envelope for commercial buildings; the thermal envelope, air control, and water and vapor control all must be considered. The envelope of the building is a highly complex structure that ensures separation between the control indoor climate from the uncontrolled outdoor climate.