Building Envelope Systems

Crouse CollegeThe building envelope, which primarily consists of roofs, walls, fenestrations, and doors, protects the building from the elements and allows the indoor environment to function efficiently. In older buildings, the walls may also act as the building structure, relying on the facade to shed water to minimize deterioration. To provide energy efficiency, air barriers, vapor barriers, insulation, and thermal breaks to the exterior elements need to be properly detailed and installed. This can be challenging in new buildings and especially challenging in older building retrofits.

KHH specializes in these building envelope systems and has many years of experience to aid the client in "getting it right the first time" for long-term economy. Our expertise includes the following:

  • Contemporary Masonry Facades
  • Historic Masonry Facades
  • Building Science Services.

Scope of Services

Contemporary Masonry Façades

Our services include condition assessment followed by practical rehabilitation schemes, such as addressing facade cracking, bulging, joint deterioration, water management, flashing and lintel deterioration. These facades are typically "cavity wall" systems.

Historic Masonry Façades

Historic buildings, usually 100 years old or older, are typically "mass wall" construction. These facades function differently and were made of materials no longer used in contemporary buildings. Facade durability can be undermined by well-intended, yet inappropriate, use of modern methods and materials. By understanding how a "mass wall" functions, our rehabilitation schemes complement and remain true to the original intent, providing long-term solutions to deterioration. Our services include condition assessment, material analysis, and finding the root cause of deterioration, not merely addressing the symptoms.

Building Science Services

Emphasis on energy efficiency and carbon footprints has resulted in a revisiting of traditional building details. A carefully-designed and well-built envelope system, coordinated with the mechanical systems, can greatly reduce a building’s energy usage. Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt can assist with the following:

  • Development of roof and wall details to maximize envelope performance
  • Specific detailing to minimize energy loss caused by thermal bridging through roof angles, façade support elements, cold-formed steel studs, canopies and balconies, among other elements
  • Design and detailing of foundation insulation systems, as well as underslab insulation
  • Infrared imaging of existing buildings to identify addressable areas of energy loss
  • Building envelope commissioning services, using infrared imaging, as part of project closeout to ensure as-designed envelope performance. This can be useful when striving for LEED Certification.

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