Better quality windows, doors and insulation will help
keep your utility costs down and also help reduce street
noise – a particularly important factor in the hospitality
industry. Building-envelope improvements are generally more
cost-effective when they are conducted as part of new construction
or major retrofits.
Various window options improve on the relative energy
inefficiency of single-pane standard glazing. These
include double- and triple-pane glazing, tinted glazing,
reflective glazing, spectrally selective glazing and
insulated glazing with inert gas between the layers.
Wood and vinyl frames are more energy efficient than
aluminium. Storm-window systems reduce heat loss in
A more cost-effective option than new windows is the
installation of solar glazing or reflective film inside
existing windows. Energy savings can be as high as 25
percent, with approximate paybacks in less than three
Daylighting panels are translucent units that diffuse
the light throughout the space and reduce glare, with
higher R-values than conventional windows.
Other window coverings such as shutters, shades and
draperies provide insulation benefits, especially in
summer when they reduce the amount of sunlight – and
heat – entering rooms.
When replacing exterior doors, choose well-insulated,
Revolving doors are the best choice for keeping wind
and weather out of lobbies. Check these doors periodically
to ensure there are no leaks along their edges or bottoms.
High-quality weatherstripping that is durable and long
lasting will assist in combating unwanted drafts.
Install plastic secondary-door curtains inside delivery
doors and bays.
Energy-efficient insulation types include fibre (usually
available in loose-fill and batts) and foam (usually
available in rigid sheets and sprays). Exterior reflective
materials are also available, but offer poor insulation
Seal air leaks and cracks by using foams, caulking
and weatherstripping. Stuff fibreglass or glazier's
foam backer rod insulation into areas too large
to be caulked.
Wall- and roof-insulation upgrades are best undertaken
as part of larger renovation projects. Upgrades to insulation
in basements and top-floor ceiling crawl spaces can
be done anytime.
If wet insulation is detected, replace it immediately
once the source of the moisture has been identified
Other Building-Envelope Measures
Paint the exterior of your facility a light colour,
if possible. This can help reflect summer heat, ease
cooling loads and reduce energy consumption.
Light-coloured roofing materials not only reduce cooling-energy
consumption by 25 to 65 percent during the summer, they
also extend roof life.
“Living” or “green” roofs are becoming more common
in Canada. Popular in Europe, these roofs are planted
with grass and other vegetation. In addition to excellent
insulating properties, this roof style could present
multiple uses – and aesthetic appeal – in hotels and
The Vocabulary of Building Envelopes
R-values measure the resistance to heat flow that occurs
due to temperature differences between the interior and
exterior (window and wall) of an envelope. The higher the
R-value, the better the insulating properties.
U-values are the inverse of R-values (U = 1/R). In other
words, they measure the amount of heat that will move through
material rather than resistance to the movement.
Window performance is measured by shading coefficient (SC),
solar heat-gain coefficient (SHGC), visible transmittance
(Tvis ), luminous efficacy (Ke) and
R- or U-values.