Rain Screens and Building Envelopes in Banff
In Alberta, a building’s envelope and rain screen is arguably one of its most important features to protect from the harsh Alberta weather, especially during the long winter months.
What is the building envelope?
A building’s envelope is its foundation, outside walls, windows, and roof. Essentially, the building’s envelope asks like it’s “skin” layer, protecting the building from thermal elements and moisture, acting as a barrier from the outside environment.
Because the envelope acts like the building’s skin, it is the most likely portion of the building to be damaged by water. A building envelope’s job is to make the building energy efficient, and provide a comfortable and healthy place for people to be.
A proper building envelope should have the following features:
- Proper ventilation
- Air and thermal barriers
- Damp proofing
- Solid structure
- A drainage plane
Because of the climate of Banff and surrounding areas in Alberta, moisture control and solid structures are one of the most important features of a building. Additional to a solid envelope, a building in this climate should also have a suitable rainscreen - an exterior wall detail where the siding stands of from the moisture resistant surface to allow drainage and evaporation. Ideally a rain screen will prevent the wall’s air and moisture barrier from getting wet.
Your buildings are a huge investment, and as such you should make sure that they are properly protected against Banff’s harsh winter climate. The first steps to making sure that a building will hold up properly is in analyzing its envelope and rain screen.