Thermal Envelope Design in Home Building (Explained)



Weathertight, thermal insulation, and airtight are the three continuous functional layers in thermal envelope design in home building to provide adequate protection from the elements.

These layers’ performance must be tested on paper and in the field. Once these layers are installed, gaining access to correct any remaining flaws is prohibitively expensive.

What Is a Home’s Thermal Envelope?

A homes thermal envelope consists of three main layers; an air barrier, insulation, and weather-resistant layer.

Airtightness Layer

An airtightness layer eliminates uncontrolled air passage and moisture and sound transfer. This requires airtight materials, sealing, and blower-door testing.

Test the Air Control Layer With a Blower Door

After careful joint design and construction, a blower-door test can identify remaining envelope leaks. Blower doors are frames with fans and pressure gauges that fit in standard openings.

Insulation Control Layer

Insulation protects us from the elements. It’s a house blanket. Only your budget limits insulation thickness.

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