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What Is a Thermal Envelope?
September 20, 2018
If you were to do one thing to make your home in New York more energy efficient, what would it be? Would you replace your heating and cooling equipment? Switch to energy efficient kitchen appliances? Well, what if we told you that the best thing you can do to improve home efficiency is simpler than these improvements — and it has to do with something called the thermal envelope?
True home efficiency begins at your home’s thermal envelope, and we’re here to help you understand how to make it as efficient as possible.
The Thermal Envelope: Your Key to Controlling Heat Flow
Your home’s “thermal envelope” is the barrier that separates conditioned indoor living spaces from unconditioned spaces and the outdoors. It is made up of the foundation, walls, roof, windows, and doors. An effective thermal envelope keeps valuable heat in during the winter and blocks unwanted heat out during the summer.
If any part of your home’s thermal envelope isn’t doing its job to control heat flow, temperatures are going to fluctuate inside your home. That, in turn, forces your heating and cooling equipment to work harder and drives up your energy bills.
How to Improve Your Home’s Thermal Envelope
To conserve as much energy as possible and save money on your utility bills, it’s important to make improvements that help the thermal envelope control heat flow. Those improvements are:
Insulation controls the flow of heat through building materials, such as your walls, ceilings, and roof. It is especially important to install insulation along the attic floor, in exterior walls, and underneath the first floor of your home. When installed correctly, insulation in these key areas will create a thermal boundary that effectively controls heat flow into and out of your living space.
No insulation project is complete without proper air sealing. Air sealing with spray foam creates an air barrier, or pressure boundary, along your home’s thermal envelope. When done correctly, it keeps outside air from seeping in and inside air from escaping through your insulation.
It All Starts with a Healthy Home Evaluation
It’s not always easy to determine where your home’s thermal envelope needs added insulation and air sealing. At Healthy Home, we make it simple for homeowners in Westchester and Putnam Counties to diagnose their homes with healthy home evaluations. A healthy home evaluation (also called an energy audit) will locate air leaks and missing insulation in your home, so you know where to have a professional air seal and insulate. We can even tell you what types of insulation might be best for your home.