The fabrics of a building, also known as building fabric, refers to the ceiling, walls, windows, floors and doors of a building. They also include the structural materials, cladding, insulation and finishes, etc., that enclose the interior of each particular building and separate the internal from the external.
The building fabric plays a leading role in the energy efficiency of the structure. Considering the fabrics of a building in the design and planning phase of a building leads to the best outcomes. The optimum designs of the building fabric can deliver the best heating and cooling requirements. These may lead to the downsizing of heating and cooling systems and could sometimes eliminate the need for them at all.
It is also possible to significantly improve the energy-related performance of an existing building fabric, which is an area GDS specialises in most frequently. The majority of energy saving strategies available in existing buildings may only be cost effective as part of planned building refurbishment project. There are, however, a number of simple and low-cost measures that GDS provides can be implemented as stand-alone projects.
The building fabric serves to:
- Protect the building occupants from external weather factors such as wind, rain and frost, etc..
- Regulate the indoor environment in terms of the temperature, humidity, moisture, etc.
- Provide privacy for occupants (visual, audible, etc.).
- Prevent the transmission of noise.
- Provide physical security for occupants and the building contents.
- Provide integral safety, for example preventing the spread of fire or smoke.
- Provide views into and out of the building.
- Provide access between the inside and the outside of the building.
Building managers, commercial property developers, energy managers and all those involved in building management who wish to improve their building’s comfort levels internally, or wish to reduce heating, cooling or ventilation costs, may benefit from the information provided by the Carbon Trust: in this PDF.