What Is a Building Envelope?

What Is a Building Envelope?

A building envelope is the system of equipment that separates a building's interior from its exterior. Inside the envelope, the building is protected from the outdoor world and able to regulate the environment. When it's hot, the building enclosure ensures your air conditioning units keep the inside cool with minimal strain. When it's cold and raining, the envelope prevents moisture from getting inside so you can stay comfortable and keep business running as usual.

When you rent equipment from somewhere like The Cat® Rental Store, you want to ensure it stays in good condition so it can continue working as it should for as long as you're using it. A building envelope helps you maintain facility integrity and protect your employees and their tools alike from unfavorable conditions.

Parts of a Building Envelope

When we talk about a building envelope, picture it as a shell for your building. It includes all the exterior parts of any construction, including the following:

  • Foundation
  • Walls
  • Windows and doors
  • Roof

All of these parts of your building envelope should contribute to how the construction maintains:

  • Insulation: Whether you use an HVAC system or choose more natural ventilation options, the walls, roof, windows and doors should be strong enough to maintain equilibrium once you achieve it.
  • Moisture control: Without adequate protection, water can breach any part of your envelope. While a strong roof can protect you from much of the effects of snow and rainstorms, groundwater, runoff and flooding can all impact your foundation and walls. Aside from waterproofing each part of the envelope as much as possible, you should also explore integrating water redirection equipment like drainage screens and water storage systems.
  • Air control: When you consider moisture control and insulation, air control should come alongside them. Together, good insulation and moisture control contribute to air quality, maintaining humidity levels and adequate ventilation.

What Does Building Envelope Construction Do?

The building envelope delivers a number of crucial effects for any construction project. Its components are key features in ensuring:

  • Support: Much of a building's envelope includes vital parts of its overall structure. These parts have to be strong enough to support the weight of the rest of the building as well as withstand exterior stress factors like wind, rain and snow. As you build parts of the envelope like the foundation, walls and roof, you must ensure they fit all local codes and are ready to resist any pressures you can reasonably expect in your area.
  • Insulation: As the seasons change throughout the year, insulation keeps things temperate inside. The best approach to insulation varies based on the area's climate and your operational needs. More than that, insulating the structure also keeps sounds from entering or escaping the interior, offering privacy and protection during complex and confidential operations. 
  • Aesthetic: Since a building envelope comprises your facility's exterior, it needs to be both functional and visually appealing. As you consider which options will work best for your applications, you also have to think about how it will look to clients, executives and passersby.

Types of Building Envelope Construction

There are two ways to construct building envelopes:

  • Tight: A tight building envelope seal provides a highly customizable environment. By constructing the envelope with more insulation and stronger seals, you have more control over temperature regulation, humidity levels and energy use. If energy efficiency is a priority for your brand, tight envelope construction should be your choice.
  • Loose: To make the most of your connection to the outdoor world, loose envelope construction provides more ventilation. If you work with equipment that requires a lot of airflow, loose construction can give you more of that without the need for industrial mechanics. In exchange, though, you have less overall control over interior temperature, and you may need to use more energy to keep everything at optimal levels.

Which option is right for your building depends greatly on what operations you'll complete within.

Rent Building Equipment From Your Local Cat® Dealer

When you shop at The Cat Rental Store, you're exploring machinery from the best equipment dealers from coast to coast. When you're constructing building envelopes, for your business or another, using the most durable, precise resources available ensures you can deliver the finest results. 

Explore your options today by seeing what we have for rent. Our team is here to help you discover what we can do to make your next project safer and more streamlined. When you find what you need, reach out to your nearest Cat dealer for a quick quote and a convenient rental experience.

Find The Cat Rental Store Near You