Building Envelope Intro

Building Envelope basically refers to the materials that make up your house.  The floors, walls, windows, doors, attic, basement, etc.  I'm also going to include home orientation and exterior items that impact your energy/water usage in this category.

As you should know by now (if you've become a Mapawatt Blog fan!), you use the greatest amount of energy in your home heating it in the winter and cooling it in the summer.  Your home's building envelope has a huge impact on how much heat or AC you need to add to live comfortably!

Except for a few  days out of the year (unless you live in San Diego) Mother Nature is constantly battling with the interior of your home.  She wants your home to adhere to her temperature policies, while your home is fighting to keep itself comfortable for you (hopefully you aren't making it work too hard).  She wants icicles in your bedroom in February and a sweltering desert in July.  Think of your home's envelope as its body armor against Mother Nature's efforts to dominate it.  The tighter the envelope, the less chance her "temperature arrows" will get through (you can tell I'm a fan of bad analogies).

Your overall goal is to prevent your conditioned air (which refers to any air that is heated or cooled by you) to be affected by Mother Nature.   This means insulating your walls and attic, installing efficient windows and door, and preventing air from breaking in or escaping out of your house.

So continue reading this section to make sure your house stays nice and cozy no matter how frightful the weather outside is!

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Wow really makes you think. I like it very much. Very inspirational and motivational. Thanks for that.
reasonable changes in your family's routine is the most cost effective way to save home energy. Many cost nothing and add big savings.iurning off lights when not needed. Lowering thermostat settings when you are away from home in wintee. Setting water temperature in your heater lower. Pulling back drapes on sunny windows in winter. Staying outside in summer and acclimatizing yourselves to warmer temperatures, allows you to raise thermostat setting. Using ceiling and floor fans to stay cooler at warmer temperatures. On muggy days open windows on windward side more than exhaust windows, increasing flow of air as it approaches exhaust which will increase evaporation from your body and your comfort.Programmabve thermostats can save bundles by moving temperatures indoors as you wish prior to your return and after you leave. If you have a garden, either vegetable or flower, you can save a lot of water with mulching or a long soaking watering to prevent water evaporation or build deep root systems respectively. Using a non- mulching lawnmower keeps roots of your lawn healthier by letting water get to them rather than to a thatch layer created by mulching mowers. Cool showers taken in evening can help you get thru hottest point of evening and allow you to get to sleep without resorting to air conditioning all night. Opening windows whenever possible at night often cools your house and furniture.leting you save AC the next day. After you have made these changes in your routine, then proceed to simplest low cost improvements. Seal your home,then insulate wisely, paying particular attention to thermal bridges. After you get your insulation levels 50 percent above recommendations for your area then you can start considering simple solar collectors such as window box or southwall units, By trhis time you will probably need a smaller output heating systemm which will again save you money. I would estimate that you can iwth only simple low cost methods cut your heating and air conditioning costs by 60 to 70 percent based on my own experience. With the addition of simple solar space and water heating you may reduce it further, saving another 20 percent at least on heating. Maybe a 60 percent savings on your total energy bill. Ed

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