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Building Envelope


The building envelope comprising of walls, windows, roof, and foundation separate the indoor and outdoor environments and primarily determine the amount of energy that is required to heat, cool, and ventilate a building. The balance between a building’s envelope and HVAC system plays a key role in determining the level of comfort and indoor air quality.

To cost-effectively improve the energy efficiency, moisture-durability, and environmental sustainability of building envelopes, ORNL is exploring new and emerging materials, components, and systems as well as the fundamentals of heat, air, and moisture transfer. Research is also focused on developing thermal energy storage and multifunctional dynamic solutions where the envelope serves as a filter that selectively accepts or rejects solar radiation and outdoor air, various its R-value depending on the need for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting.