Sector: Building Enclosure

Market Overview: The building enclosure, also called the building envelope, is the outer structure of a building, which separates the interior of the building from the outdoors. It keeps moisture, winds, and pests out while keeping conditioned (heated/cooled) air inside. As a result, the building enclosure is essential for maintaining the interior comfort and health of occupants.

For an exterior wall, the enclosure typically includes all building components from the interior surface of the wall (drywall/gypsum wallboard) outward to the exterior surface/façade of the building, including windows and doors. For foundations, building components extend from the interior surface of the foundation wall and floor/concrete slab outward to the foundation insulation and soil.

The way buildings are constructed varies, but as an example, here are the common building enclosure components of an exterior wall. Starting from the exterior of a building, the outermost layer is the rain-screen/cladding/siding layer, which keeps out most rain or bulk water from entering the building. Commonly, some wind-driven water will get past, but the next layers stop it: exterior (board-type) insulation and/or the weather/vapor/air barrier that is attached to the sheathing or concrete block.

Next is wood or steel wall framing, which supports the sheathing. Facilities manufacturing the components of this framing are vast and not included on BuildingClean.org. The cavities of the framed wall are filled with insulation and are finally topped by drywall/gypsum wallboard to provide the interior surface of the exterior wall. This is the last layer of the building enclosure.

BuildingClean.org has separate sectors on roofing, insulation, joint sealants, and windows, doors, and skylights that together with the building enclosure listings represent U.S. manufacturing in this important building concept.

It is only relatively recently and due to significant improvements in technology that have resulted in many cross-over products that the building enclosure concept has begun to drive construction and design. The linkage with occupant health through mold prevention and keeping out pollution and pests has brought even more visibility on the importance of what's called a "tight" envelope to keep both the structure and its occupants sound.

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