What is a Building Envelope? Does it Affect Home Comfort?

Published on April 01, 2019

What is a building envelope, and does it affect home comfort


A home that successfully keeps you comfortable and protected from the elements could be said to have an effective building envelope. A building envelope is the entire protective shell that a home forms to keep its occupants safe and separated from the great outdoors. The way that a building envelope operates can be separated into three categories involving building science: the support and structural integrity of the building, the ability of the building to control energy usage and things like air flow, and the finishing aesthetic or appearance of the building.

Building envelopes can be constructed to be extremely effective at keeping occupants safe and comfortable, no matter what type of weather the home is exposed to. Noticing things such as cold air drafts in hallways or around windows, patches of rapidly melting snow on the roof, or smelling unwanted scents or smoke that originated from your neighbours are all signs of a weak or damaged building envelope.

By consulting with one of BSG’s Registered Energy Advisors, you can take the first step towards ensuring that your home’s building envelope will be able to provide you with sufficient protection from even the harshest weather conditions. Our Advisors are also able to help you plan for future upgrades in the most effective and affordable manner possible.  

You Can Use Building Science to Improve Your Building Envelope

There are a number of different methods and building science strategies that can be used to not only make a home have a more effective building envelope, but also to help improve its level of energy efficiency - meaning lower utility bills, a higher level of home comfort, and oftentimes a higher market value for its homeowner.

A Home Energy Assessment is the most effective and affordable way of determining which methods or building sciences strategies would be the most optimal choice to improve your home’s building envelope. During a Home Energy Assessment, our Registered Energy Advisors will examine the entirety of your home’s building envelope and level of energy efficiency, providing you with a complete look at how effectively and efficiently your home operates, along with a list of suggestions for how your home’s building envelope and energy efficiency could be improved.

These suggestions may include things that directly impact a specific part of your home’s building envelope, such as insulation improvements that will help with moisture control and the overall thermal envelope - the protective layer of your home’s building envelope which provides insulation, temperature, and some moisture management.

Our advisors are not only trained and experienced in assessing building envelopes, but they are also equipped with the right tools, such as infrared cameras that examine heat flow and spot air leaks, and computer-controlled energy modelling software; meaning that you will have in-depth and calculated information about how your home could be the most effectively improved for the lowest upfront investment.

What this means is that the advisor who carries out your assessment is able to determine which suggestions would provide you with the biggest improvements to your home’s energy efficiency and building envelope per dollar spent, allowing you to make an informed decision that fits you and your family’s needs.

By Upgrading Your Home’s Energy Efficiency You Can Lower Your Utility Bills

Knowing every aspect of how a building envelope operates, or which building science strategy should be used to help improve a certain aspect of a specific home’s building envelope is too much to ask of any homeowner. But with the help of BSG’s Registered Energy Advisors, you can rest easy knowing that you will be able to make the most optimal and cost-effective upgrades to your home possible, and that you will have a plan for future upgrades drafted by a group of experienced and practised professionals.

Upgrading a home’s building envelope is an effective way of improving home energy efficiency, as many of the upgrades effectively improve both at the same time. Attic insulation upgrades are often the most effective improvements a homeowner could make to help improve their home’s operation costs and interior comfort levels. According to NAIMA Canada, households with an attic have an extremely high potential to be successfully retrofitted towards higher levels of energy efficiency, on average.

By making energy efficiency improvements, you can help lower your home’s energy consumption and operational costs, meaning you will receive a lower utility bill each month. As part of a Home Energy Assessment, your expected financial and energy savings are included for each suggested retrofit or building science strategy. This means that you are not only able to target a certain area of your home that you want to be improved - such as removing drafts from your living room or keeping your kitchen floors at a more comfortable temperature - but you are also able to decide on upgrades based on which will lower your utility bills the most for the smallest upfront investment.

In Ontario, a Home Energy Assessment can also help your home qualify for up to $5,000 of home renovation rebates that both Enbridge and Union Gas are currently offering their customers - making it even easier for you to make improvements to your home’s building envelope and level of energy efficiency.

Contact BSG today and setup a time for our Registered Energy Advisors to come into your home and conduct an assessment - we also offer free phone consultations to help you figure out your options, and what your first steps could be towards a more comfortable, affordable, and energy efficient home.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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