Understanding the Elements of a Building Envelope
The building envelope refers to structural elements of a building, including the foundation, walls, and roof, that protect the interior of the home from the elements. The manner in which the building envelope is constructed and maintained has a tremendous impact on energy efficiency, weather-proofing, and the lifespan of the property.
The energy efficiency of your condo affects how much you will spend each year on utilities to heat your home in the winter and keep it cool in the summer months. A well‐constructed building envelope will have insulated walls and sealed windows to prevent hot and cold from leaking from the inside-out, and vice versa. A well‐insulated home stays warm longer in the winter, saving you money on your utility costs.
Safety and Longevity
The integrity of the building envelope impacts the longevity of your property. A sealed and maintained foundation and rainwater drainage system will keep moisture on the ground from penetrating into the building and causing rot and mould which will undermine the structural integrity of wooden elements in the building. A leaky roof or window will allow water to penetrate into the building overtime damaging the wooden joists, studs, and beams inside your walls and ceiling.
A good building envelope provides longstanding weather resistance. A roof that has the proper pitch, is sealed with weather shielding material and drip flashing, and has a functional and maintained rain and snowmelt drainage system will keep water from pooling on the roof, which can cause erosion and damage to the structural elements beneath. Properly fitted and sealed windows and doors will keep the rain from making its way into the building, where it can cause water damage. A rain gutter system should divert water away from the foundation, preventing excessive moisture from pooling in the basement or subfloor of your condo.