Are Air Sealing and Envelope Sealing The Same?

Are Air Sealing and Envelope Sealing The Same?

One of the most common questions we receive here at Okanagan AeroBarrier is whether air sealing and envelope sealing are the same thing.
Envelope sealing- a relatively new word (though not concept) is still considered industry lingo in the Okanagan. Air sealing? A little more common.
The two are very, very intertwined- but, do differ in certain ways. For new home builders, differentiation is important when considering the energy efficiency of new projects.

Wait, What is Air Sealing Anyway?

Air sealing used to be a typically underrated energy efficiency tactic, that was either ignored or underutilized by new home builders across Canada.
Thanks to simply time, and industry movements, air sealing is now considered a valuable process in the construction of new homes to drive energy efficiency. In the Okanagan, the biggest industry movement would likely be the change in requirements when building new developments; speaking to the energy efficiency of the building process and increased requirements with the BC Step Code (internally link to blog post.)
Not only are builders increasing the value and energy efficiency of new developments, new home owners can also reap financial benefits from quality air sealing through decreased hydro bills.
And who doesn’t want that?
Air sealing is the process of systemically finding and sealing leakage points in a building, where a surplus of air can easily escape. These leaking points can be found anywhere and can range in size; some are undetected by the human eye.

How is Air Sealing Done?

Through AeroBarrier, of course!
Jokes aside, there are many methods (internally link to blog) to air sealing. Older, more traditional methods that rely on manual labor are quickly being replaced with air sealing technology that discovers and fills leakage points undetected by the human eye.
Air sealing can be done through:
Caulking
Tape
Expanding Foam
AeroBarrier air sealing technology

So, What is Envelope Sealing?

Envelope sealing is literally that- sealing building envelopes to reduce air leakage.
That means that yes, air sealing and envelope sealing are the exact same process.
An envelope in a home speaks to the space between the inside, conditioned space of a home to the outside, unconditioned area. The building envelope provides barriers to external conditions- light, heat and cold, water etc.
From the standpoint of energy efficiency, the barriers to air and temperature are the biggest drivers in how efficient a home can be graded. They’re also the barriers you want to consider if decreased energy bills are high priority to you.

Air Sealing and Envelope Sealing ARE the Same Thing

One speaks to the process, while the other kind of speaks to the outcome.
Different envelopes in each building contribute to keeping particular elements contained. There are more common envelope areas for reducing air leakages in new homes, but leakage points can be found at any point of construction.
Did you know? Faulty envelopes, as connecting loops, can see air movements within a wall or ceiling that may result in 10-20% heat loss alone.

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