The Well-Designed Building Envelope

When it comes to designing your home, “the greenest thing you can do,” according to Residential Design & Build magazine, is to “design a high-integrity thermal envelope so your structure consumes as little fuel as possible for heating and cooling.” Sure, VOC’s, recycling and hybrids are also important to living a sustainable lifestyle, but greening the building shell should be your No. 1 priority.

So where to begin? Start by using non-toxic, sustainably harvested materials that don’t consume a great deal of fuel when ship. This includes roofing, air filtration, insulation, adhesives, caulks, sealants, wood and more.

And when it comes to insulation, Henges has you covered. Because, as RB&D reiterates, “Cooling U.S. homes costs $40 billion yearly and consumes 15 percent of all U.S. power, 90 percent of which is created with coal and fossil fuels. Proper insulation can easily save 20 percent of fuel costs. There are intriguing choices out there that go way beyond standard batts, such as insulation with “smart paper” facing that changes its molecular configuration to allow moisture in or out. But for all insulation, consider formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that is widely used in binders and adhesives. Also, look for low-emitting or formaldehyde-free products. For filling gaps, use spot-application spray foams that are isocyanate-free and formaldehyde-free.”

Read more on “Greening the Building Shell.”

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