This building envelope is typical for Charleston, SC new homes:
Very Leaky and Poorly Insulated.
- The building envelope is the single, greatest factor effecting a home’s energy costs and comfort.
- Indoor air quality and other operating costs like maintenance and durability are directly dependent on the building envelope.
- It is the most permanent feature of a home and the hardest to correct and improve once its built.
In our healthy, indoor air quality blogs we talk about the importance of having control over the building envelope. The same is true for our energy costs. Heating and cooling represents the biggest energy use by far but it makes little sense to invest in efficient mechanical systems without a way of controlling that valuable conditioned air. Building Envelopes deserve much more attention than heating and cooling systems for most home building projects.
“Stick framing” or traditional framing with studs on exterior walls, creates lots of opportunities for air leaks and cold spots. Any where there is an air leak or cold spot there is also an opportunity for mold to develop. This antique framing could be performing MUCH better with a functional air barrier and exterior insulated sheathing.
Despite the advancements in building envelope products and techniques most of the home building industry has made little improvement in this area for the past 50 years. Thank goodness that building and energy codes will soon be forcing the industry to improve. Building envelopes are at the center of the dramatic shift our industry is about to face.