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.

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    Product Review

    The nation's largest manufacturer of low-emissivity glass for residential windows has introduced an improved triple-coated glass, now being used by several window makers.

  • IRS Issues Guidance on Energy Efficiency Deduction for Commercial Building Owners

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  • Low-E Glass Gains Ground

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    Since producing its one-billionth square foot in 1996, the low-e glazing industry has steadily gained ground over the last ten years, with sales now approaching one billion square feet each year.

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    Glazing from Sage Electrochromics, Inc., allows users to change its visible light and total solar transmittance properties with the push of a button.

  • Little to Show for Ten Years

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    We found little progress, and even some backsliding, in the ten years since we wrote about windows, The Natural Step, autoclaved aerated concrete, and AIA's Environmental Resource Guide.