Building envelope with a red pen

I have talked about the building envelope before, (click here for previous post) but I think some further advice is required. This lesson requires a red pen.

A quick re-cap first. The building envelope separates inside from outside, conditioned space from unconditioned space. The concept of addressing Water, Air, Vapour and Thermal applies to this line. click here for the WAVT post

When you are documenting a building, do the following:

1. Print your floor plan and section.

2. Pick up your red pen.

3. Draw a red line around the building envelope.

The red line is where the Water, Air, Vapour, and Thermal control layers are.
If your pen leaves the paper at any point, this is where you need to fine tune your detailing of the control layers.

Typical areas that I see lacking are:

1. Wall between house & garage.

2. Cantilevered upper floor.

3. Upper floor over garage.

4. External end of upper floor truss.

5. Attic wall between cathedral ceiling & attic truss.

6. Windows & external doors.

Understanding the building envelope is the first step to documenting energy efficient buildings. If you don’t understand it you’re doomed from the start. As building scientist Joe Lstiburek says, “If you don’t get this concept, nothing else really matters.”

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