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Empowering Cleaner Energy Decisions

Building envelope


The energy performance of a building envelope is influenced by a number of factors. For example, these may include design elements such as the physical orientation of the building and the amount of sunlight that penetrates into the interior living or work spaces. Other factors may also include the heat transfer characteristics (both losses & gains) and the location of the building envelope components, including walls, windows, doors, floors and the roof. And the energy performance of a building may also be influenced by any natural air infiltration through the building envelope (e.g. cracks). Refer to the Building Envelope Schematic for more information.

Software & Data
The RETScreen Software Building Envelope Model can be used worldwide to evaluate the energy use and savings, costs, emission reductions, financial viability and risk for building envelope energy efficiency measures. The software can model a wide variety of projects ranging from passive solar designs for houses, to energy efficient window use in commercial buildings, to complete energy efficient construction practices on the entire building envelope for large institutional and industrial buildings. The model also considers the impact of one or more operating schedules for the base case and the proposed case building, and it models the cross-effects of other energy efficiency measures employed in the facility (e.g. heating and cooling impact of installing efficient lighting systems). In addition, the effective thermal resistance (R-value) or thermal conductance (U-value) of a specific building envelope assembly can be calculated using an optional Building envelope properties tool and a detailed Window properties tool is provided to determine the effective window properties (i.e. area, U-value and solar heat gain coefficient) and individual window costs. The software (available in multiple languages) also includes product, project and climate databases, and a detailed user manual.

Note: RETScreen users might recognise that the Building Envelope Model and the Windows properties tool in RETScreen 4 represent a significant upgrade to the original RETScreen Passive Solar Heating Project Model (PSH3). In addition to allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of building envelope energy efficiency measures, the Building envelope form, along with the more detailed Window properties and Building envelope properties tools, allows the user to prepare a more comprehensive analysis of passive solar heating and/or cooling projects.

Click here to download RETScreen Suite

Training material
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Analysis - Slides (1.15 MB)
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Analysis - Voice & slides-1/3(1.94MB)
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Analysis - Voice & slides-2/3(2.14MB)
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Analysis - Voice & slides-3/3(1.29MB)
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Analysis - Speaker's notes

e-Textbook / Guides
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Analysis - e-Textbook (1.09 MB)
RETScreen - Passive Solar Heating Project Model (V3) - User manual (802 KB)
Architectural Considerations - Guide (3.31 MB)

Case studies / Templates
Energy efficiency measures - Commercial - Building envelope - Windows
Energy efficiency - Commercial - MNECB
Energy efficiency measures - Industrial - Manufacturing - Plastic
Energy efficiency - Institutional - Building env. - Schedule - School / Slovakia
Energy efficiency measures - Institutional - Ventilation - Library / Canada
Energy efficiency - Residential - Building envelope - Apartment building
Energy efficiency - Residential - Building envelope - Insulation / Latvia
Energy efficiency - Residential - Building envelope - Windows / Canada
Energy efficiency measures - Residential - House - Energy efficient
Energy efficiency - Residential - MNECB
Energy efficiency - Residential - Passive solar heating / Canada (Hamilton)
Energy efficiency - Residential - Passive solar heating / Canada (Muskoka)
Energy efficiency - Residential - Passive solar heating / Canada (Toronto)
Energy efficiency - Residential - Passive solar heating / Germany
Energy efficiency - Residential - Passive solar heating / Japan

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