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Construction and Architecture

Insulation specialists use the term, “thermal envelope” or “building envelope” to describe the conditioned space inside a building suitable for humans. The lack of natural airflow in a building creates the need for mechanical ventilation and high humidity, which results in condensation, rotting materials, and microbial growth like mold.

Building Insulation Materials

Bulk insulation and reflective insulation are the most common insulation materials. Bulk insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow between the building and the outside. It can be purchased in rolls or boards, and it is typically made from glass wool, polyester, natural wool, or recycled paper. Reflective insulation is usually made from shiny aluminum foil that is laminated onto paper or plastic. It is used to keep buildings cool during warm months by deflecting radiant heat.

 

Climate Considerations

If you are constructing a building in a cold climate, your goal is to reduce heat flow out of the building. Heat losses can be reduced by installing efficient windows, utilizing bulk insulation, and minimizing the amount of non-solar facing glazing.

If you are constructing a building in a hot climate, your largest source of heat energy is solar radiation. The solar heat gains co-efficient, a measure of solar heat transmittance, must be taken into consideration. You can reduce solar gain by implementing light-colored roofing, heat-reflective paint, and specially coated glazing.

In a residential home, it’s most important to insulate the ceiling and roof, followed by walls, floors, and water pipes. In large commercial buildings, doors, kitchens, bathrooms, and entrance lobbies, must also be properly insulated to prevent weather-related damage and keep maintenance down. Not only can insulation reduce costs and keep building tenants comfortable, but it can also protect the environment from unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and warrant valuable tax credits.

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