Envelopes Key to a Low Carbon, Sustainable Future

S. Mumme
U.S. Department of Energy,
United States

Keywords: sustainable building, building envelope


The building envelope is the single largest contributor to primary energy use in buildings. Existing opaque building envelopes allow considerable energy waste, which means high-performance envelope technologies have substantial potential to reduce energy use and carbon emissions in both new construction and existing buildings. Envelope energy efficiency retrofits are particularly crucial because nearly 93% of residential and 60% of commercial buildings that exist today will still exist in 2050. Improving the energy performance, demand flexibility, and embodied carbon of the opaque envelope in U.S. buildings is key to achieving aggressive climate goals that support a clean energy economy and an equitable energy future for communities across the United States. This presentation will highlight technologies and approaches that have significant potential to transform opaque envelope performance and enable a low carbon future.