Passive Building Energy Savings: A Review of Building Envelope Components

Document Type



A significant portion of the total primary energy is consumed by today's buildings in developed countries. In many of these buildings, the energy consumption can be significantly reduced by adopting energy efficiency strategies. Due to environmental concerns and the high cost of energy in recent years there has been a renewed interest in building energy efficiency. This article strives to make an exhaustive technical review of the building envelope components and respective improvements from an energy efficiency perspective. Different types of energy efficient walls such as Trombe walls, ventilated walls, and glazed walls are discussed. Performance of different fenestration technologies including aerogel, vacuum glazing and frames are presented. Advances in energy efficient roofs including the contemporary green roofs, photovoltaic roofs, radiant-transmittive barrier and evaporative roof cooling systems are discussed. Various types of thermal insulation materials are enumerated along with selection criteria of these materials. The effects of thermal mass and phase change material on building cooling/heating loads and peak loads are discussed. Application of thermal mass as an energy saving method is more effective in places where the outside ambient air temperature differences between the days and nights are high. Air tightness and infiltration of building envelopes are discussed as they play a crucial role in the energy consumption of a building. Energy efficiency approaches sometimes might not require additional capital investment. For example, a holistic energy efficient building design approach can reduce the size of mechanical systems compensating the additional cost of energy efficiency features.


Energy Systems | Mechanical Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability


Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the item. Publisher policy does not allow archiving the final published version. If a post-print (author's peer-reviewed manuscript) is allowed and available, or publisher policy changes, the item will be deposited.