Gaines Group Architects

Is your home wasting your money – thermal envelope issues identified

Your energy bills depend on having a complete thermal envelope. This home owner added insulation to the attic stair which is a good thing. However, there are still problems. The type of insulation used behind the stair only works when it is not compressed and if it creates an air tight seal. Since it is smashed to fit behind the stairs it is not performing as intended and without other measures it is not air tight. There is no air sealing around the stair opening to prevent air leaks into the attic such as weather-stripping. The access itself does not fit tight to the opening when closed adding to the leak. All of these problems hurt the energy efficiency of your home and it impacts your indoor air quality. Make sure all the gaps and cracks in your thermal envelope are tight, complete, and well insulated for the best performance possible.


air leakage

Green Term Defined: Thermal Envelope

thermal envelope The thermal envelope is the barrier used to protect your interior environment from heat transfer from inside to outside. It may be portions of the exterior envelope and portions of interior elements. The effectiveness of this barrier is dependent on insulation levels, air tightness, and thermal properties of windows and doors.

Improvements in the thermal envelope can reduce heating and cooling requirements dramatically over code compliant construction practices at little to no added costs. It is the first line of defense in a home or office for comfort, low energy bills, and healthy indoor air quality.


Read more from our “Green Term Defined” series here: Green Term Defined: HVAC