What is Envelope Engineering & Design?
Envelope Engineering encompasses the components of a building that separate the interior from the exterior or ground. Elements of a structure that separate differently conditioned interior spaces are also considered envelope assemblies.
With exterior envelope assemblies, we achieve separation by preventing excessive air movement, energy transfer (thermal), water vapour transfer, as well as guarding against water (rain or groundwater, snow, and ice) entry.
Envelope Engineering Services have become a vital part of commercial and multi-family residential projects due to advancements in building materials and changes to energy efficiency regulations. Modern buildings are more air-tight and thermally efficient than ever, which has significantly reduced how much moisture load walls, roofs, and foundations can manage.
For this reason, envelope design requires specialized skill to prevent excessive moisture buildup. Orata Engineering’s knowledge of Building Sciences, along with current energy codes will aid your design team, ensuring that your envelope assemblies deliver optimal performance and durability.
Energy Code Compliance
Canada has implemented changes to building codes on both the National and Provincial level to include more stringent specifications for the energy efficiency of buildings. New builds, retrofits and additions now face additional demands for thermal resistance, continuity of insulation, demonstration of air barrier continuity. Compliance with these codes may be achieved via Prescriptive, Trade-off, or Performance-based design pathways. Orata Engineering is fully capable of assisting in the design process to ensure code compliance.
Enhanced Building Envelope Services
Orata Engineering offers Enhanced Building Envelope Services for multi-family residential, and low-rise commercial builds. Our expertise applied from the beginning to a project’s design, contract documentation, and construction phases. Orata’s focus is on environmental separation, compliance of envelope assemblies with the applicable energy code or standard, as well as the performance of building materials and assemblies.
The highest value of our services is when we are involved right from the earliest stages of the design process, as decisions regarding the building’s primary structural elements can have a profound impact on insulating strategies, energy code compliance, and fenestration options. Orata’s expertise applied in early designs, will help to ensure your building meets energy code requirements in the most efficient way possible.
We support our customers by providing services later in the project, including:
- Design review
- Development of specifications for envelope assemblies
- Review of product submissions for compliance with the project specifications
- Preparation of mock-up assemblies
- Assembly performance testing
- Field inspections
- Completing required documents as per the Alberta New Home Buyer’s Protection Act. (Building Assessment Report -BAR)
We understand that new building materials are always being developed because technology changes fast. We also know that in contrast, building codes can be slow to change. A difficult process for new products to enter the marketplace that is dominated by Part 9, design and construction practices.
We help guide you through that process so your products are qualified against the appropriate standards to “acceptable solutions” for Part 9 construction.
We also provide “pre-engineered” designs for use in Section 9 dominated markets. Let us help you keep it simple.
Upgrading Energy Performance
Any interior or exterior renovation, restoration, or remediation project offers an opportunity to increase the energy performance of a building. Choosing to upgrade the thermal insulation and air barrier performance of your building has many benefits, including:
- Reduced operating costs
- Increased durability and service life
- Increased property value
- Improved comfort to building occupants
- Lower greenhouse gas emissions and demand for natural resources
Improving a building’s energy efficiency can be done through several different approaches, each of which requires a strong understanding of Building Science to implement correctly. Incorrect designs can lead to severe moisture issues that result in the deterioration of envelope assemblies and costly repair. Orata’s expertise guarantees that your envelope upgrades are designed to manage moisture, ensuring high performance and long-term durability.
Masonry buildings require advanced consideration and skill to properly insulate and manage water vapour transport. Improper design of an energy upgrade (insulation, air barrier, vapour barrier) could result in accelerated deterioration of masonry mass walls from freeze-thaw cycling. Orata Engineering can assist in the design of energy upgrade retrofits for these types of buildings to provide lasting durable and enhanced efficiency. For more information, please see our Building Restoration services.
Work with Orata Today
Our Building Envelope Expert’s specialize in all areas of building science. Learn more about Orata Engineering and our full selection of services including Envelope Engineering & Design, contact us today! As Calgary’s premier envelope engineers, we are happy to answer all of your questions.
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