The Building Envelope
One term that's used a lot when building a house is 'building envelope'. The concept of a building envelope relates to design and construction of the exterior of the house. A good building envelope involves using exterior wall materials and designs that are climate-appropriate, structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. These three elements are the key factors in constructing your building envelope. The building envelope of a house consists of its roof, floors, exterior doors, windows and of course the exterior walls.
Reducing unintentional air leakage (that is, air sealing) through the walls, ceilings and foundations of the house is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve its energy performance and comfort. This should be the first priority in any building envelope retrofit because air leakage can reduce the effectiveness of some types of insulation, and allows warm, conditioned air to escape to the outdoors or lets cold outdoor air infiltrate to the interior, causing the heating system to work harder. If left uncorrected for too long, air leaks can also cause moisture and indoor air quality problems.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESOURCES
If any of the windows in your home are leaking air and you are thinking about replacing them, a little bit of planning will cut your energy bill and guarantee you a more comfortable, draft-free home for years to come.
When buying new windows, it's worthwhile to select the best high-performance models available. They'll pay you back in increased comfort, better draft and moisture control, improved health and lower heating and cooling costs. The difference is because of the use of insulated spacers, low-E-film on the glass and an inert gas, such as argon, to fill the space between the two panes of glass. Because the inert gas stops heat transfer between the two panes, the inside pane stays much warmer and comfortable to the touch. High-efficiency windows will increase the resale value of your home by making it more comfortable, and they also help block outside noise.