Energy Efficiency 101: Understanding Your Home’s Building Envelope

A home’s building envelope is designed to slow the natural process of heat transfer between indoor air and outdoor air, keeping your home at a comfortable temperature and controlling moisture levels and mold growth. When your home’s building envelope is properly sealed and insulated, it takes much less energy to heat and cool your space, reducing utility bills and improving indoor air quality.

Energy Efficiency 101: Understanding Your Home's Building EnvelopeA home’s building envelope includes the following components:

  • Foundation: Insulation on the foundation prevents heat transfer to surrounding soil and prevents water vapor from condensing on the foundation walls. Your foundation may be insulated on either the interior wall or the exterior, and though it performs better for moisture control, exterior insulation typically must be added during a home’s construction process.
  • Walls: Fiberglass, loose fill or sprayed foam insulation are used between the studs in most homes to provide a thermal barrier. A vapor barrier is added to control moisture. Insulation can be added beneath the siding to increase the insulation value of the walls and to reduce the conduction of heat through the studs, known as thermal bridging. Penetrations in the walls for electrical lines, plumbing or exhaust vents should be sealed with caulk or expanding foam insulation to prevent air infiltration.
  • Floors: Installing insulation and vapor barriers in floors over unconditioned spaces can help reduce heat transfer and control moisture.
  • Attic floor: Penetrations in the attic floor for pipes, electric lines and appliance vents should be sealed to prevent air leaks. Plenty of insulation in the attic floor can help prevent heat loss during the winter and reduce heat gain from the attic during the summer.
  • Roof: A properly vented roof can moderate the temperature in your attic, protect your roof surface and prevent moisture accumulation.
  • Windows and doors: Energy-efficient, insulated doors and windows can prevent heat loss, while proper caulking and weatherstripping can prevent air leaks.

To learn how your home’s building envelope affects your heating and cooling costs, talk to our HVAC experts at Amarillo Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving the Amarillo area since 1960.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about building envelope and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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