Building Envelope

Photo by Andreas Lechtape, courtesy NBK Architectural Terracotta

The building envelope protects us from the elements, enables comfort, and ultimately allows us to be at home in our houses, to be productive at the office, to learn in school, or to heal in the hospital.

A building envelope—also commonly called a "building enclosure," should:

  • support comfort

  • manage moisture

  • not poison us or the planet

  • allow us to breathe clean air

When possible, it should do all this while using resources effectively—durably, energy-efficiently, and with low embodied impacts.

Here you’ll find strategies for envelope design and material selection that help balance all these demands and more.

Building Envelope

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  • Cladding: More Than Just a Pretty Façade

    Feature Article

    Cladding materials should be chosen to minimize environmental impacts and help maximize a building’s energy performance.

  • The Building Envelope: Innovations in Planning, Materials and Budgets


    Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen and director of the Resilient Design Institute, recently completed a zero-energy retrofit of an old Vermont farmhouse. In this webcast, Alex and his designer-builder, Eli Gould, review their nuts-and-bolts experiences and lessons learned with innovative products and systems, with a focus on the building envelope.

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