Building Envelope Analysis

“In life you need either inspiration or desperation.”

~ Tony Robbins

Today’s topic is
Building Envelope Analysis,

Building Envelope Analysisbut before we get started …

Webster’s dictionary defines INSPIRATION as “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create; a force or influence that inspires someone.”

And DESPERATION is defined as “a strong feeling of sadness, fear, and loss of hope.”

You are at a point in your career where you have:

(1)  Been supported, encouraged, mentored, and positively influenced – INSPIRATION
(2)  Been left to fend for yourself, learning to be an engineer on your own – DESPERATION

Although in any endeavor, there is a certain amount of learning-by-experience and trial-by-fire, the best way for someone to realize and reach their full potential is to have a mentor – or better yet, mentors – who teach, guide, and encourage.

The sad truth is that most engineers today who run their own business or who have ascended to a position of leadership in an already established firm learned what they know on their own. They didn’t have positive, knowledgeable, and encouraging role models or they egotistically shunned available support and they are now passing these traits on to the next generation of engineers.

But, there are alternatives.

Setzer Media Group and were both created to help, inform, encourage, and support those involved in building design and construction. Our sole purpose and passion is to be the “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create” through information, resources, and community. Take what you need from these posts and ask for help when it’s needed. Along the way, we will both be rewarded and learn something. And we can then pass that knowledge and INSPIRATION on to others.


As a building designer, one of your charges will be to design and specify heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems for buildings. These systems can be as simple as ventilation fans for air movement or indoor air quality up to highly specialized air treatment systems. You may also be required to provide input into the building design, especially when it comes to building materials.

Both of these functions require knowledge and mastery of Building Envelope Analysis. By learning these skills, you make yourself a valuable part of the whole design team. You will gain the respect of Architects, Owners, and Contractors as well as other building design professionals.

For your Test-Day Resource Library, you will want to find and include the following Building Envelope Analysis information – density, conductivity, conductance, and resistance or U-values – for:
Building Materials:

Load Calculations for Building Envelope Analysis:

  • For roofs, walls, and glass conduction: q = U x area x CLTD
  • For glass solar: q = area x SC x SHGF x CLF
  • Conductivity = k in BTU per (hour)(square foot)(temperature difference)
  • Conductance = C in BTU per (hour)(square foot)(temperature difference)
  • Resistance (R) = 1/k or 1/C in (hour)(square foot)(temperature difference) per BTU
  • U-value = 1/R in BTU per (hour)(square foot)(temperature difference)
  • Available from ASHRAE or search online:
    • Cooling Load Temperature Difference (CLTD) tables
    • Shading Coefficients (SC) tables
    • Solar Heat Gain Factor (SHGF) tables
    • Cooling Load Factor (CLF) tables
  • Weather Data

Using this Building Envelope Analysis information and a few quick calculations, you can be a driving force in the overall building design and system selections – building skin, structural, and HVAC. Setting up a model on a laptop computer or tablet prior to a design meeting, you can quickly change and modify building dimensions, directions, and materials to assist the design team and owner make decisions. And, you have made yourself a valuable part of the project team.

Building Envelope Analysis

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