What is Your Home’s Envelope and Why is it Important?

exterior image of a home, idea of a home's envelope

Have you ever heard of a building’s envelope? Most homeowners understand that proper insulation is important in keeping a comfortable home and lower utility bills without giving the idea much more thought. Your home’s defensive barrier against the elements is known as the envelope. When you use electricity and resources to create clean, filtered, and comfortable air flowing in your home, your home’s envelope keeps it from escaping.


What is a Building’s Envelope?

The envelope of a building is the barrier that separates the indoors from the outdoors. Imagine if a child drew a picture of a house–just a simple square with a triangle on top. If you outlined this simple representation, you’d get the shape of an envelope. This is where the idea of a building’s “envelope” originated. It also hints at the idea of enclosing something. In this case, your home–not a letter.

It’s your home’s defense against the elements–cold air in the winter, heat in the summer, and excess moisture or humidity. These conditions might make your home uncomfortable or cause your HVAC system to run overtime.


What Makes up Your Home’s Envelope?

Your home’s envelope is primarily made up of your roof, walls, windows, and doors. These are the components that guard your home from the outside elements. Any opening or leak might cause your home’s envelope to become compromised. You might envision a hole or open window, but these also include exterior wall power outlets and light switches, chimneys, pet doors, vents, or air conditioners. Your home’s exterior envelope can be especially compromised from factors you might not consider, like a leaky roof or aging windows and doors.


A poor envelope can impact your home in several ways:

  • Comfort – without a quality seal, your home’s insulation and ventilation can’t properly control the temperature, humidity, and other home environment factors
  • IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) – when your envelope has leaks, unfiltered air can penetrate your home, inviting bacteria, germs, pollutants, and allergens
  • Utility bills – leaks and improper seals lead to energy waste through inefficient use of AC, heating, and electricity usage throughout your home
  • Increased Health Risks – your home will have a higher chance of mold growth and other air and moisture contaminates.


Your home’s envelope is a barrier to retain a comfortable temperature and clean air. A quality seal will keep your home clean, block seasonal allergies, and make your home feel comfortable. Not sure how well your home is performing? Contact RetroGreen Energy to schedule your home energy audit.

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