Design Determinants of Building Envelope for Sustainable Built Environment: A Review


  • Gireendra Kumar Department of Architecture & Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
  • Gaurav Raheja Department of Architecture & Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee




Building envelope separates indoor environment form outside environment as well as provides a comfortable indoor environment through an appropriate balance of passive and active technologies. Building envelopes and its components are designed with respect to environmental, technological, socio-cultural, functional and aesthetic determinants. In contemporary scenario a major concern is to get a comfortable indoor environment in respect of thermal, visual and psychological comfort.  Further innovation in designing and construction of contemporary building envelope and its components is likely to be developed rapidly. Designing of buildings and its envelope have a major focus on making buildings sustainable by reducing energy consumption without compromising on user’s comfort. This creates a challenge to the designer and engineers to study and monitor the impact on performance of built form design determinants. This paper aims to describe and highlight the role of design determinants in building envelope and in its various components to achieve sustainable built environment. Study has described the difference in terms “energy efficiency and sustainability” in buildings and built spaces for users through the review of definitions and past researches. Further design concept and technology discussed through relevant examples of various typologies of building envelope system and described the parameters of building envelope’s transparent and opaque components for evaluation. This study is an attempt to describe the integration of design determinants like environmental, technological, socio- cultural, functional and aesthetic in building envelope and its components in making efficient and sustainable built form and space as per user comfort. The paper concludes with meaningful recommendations for sustainable development in designing future building envelopes.


Acar, E,and Onder, D.E. (2006). Criterion for the Design of the Building Envelope Related to Ecological Sensitivity in Tourism Buildings in the Mediterranean Region. Turkey, PLEA 2006 – 23rd Conference.

Alibaba, H. Z, and Ozdeniz, M. B. (2011). Thermal Comfort of Multiple-Skin Facades in Warm Climate Offices. Scientific Research and Essays, Vol. 6(19): 4065-4078

Andersen, M. (2002). Light Distribution Through Advanced Fenestration Systems. Building Research & Information, 30(4): 264-281.

Arnold, C. (2009). Building Envelope Design Guide – Introduction. FAIA, RIBA, Buildings system development Inc. (

Brundtland Commission. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and development: Our Common Future. UN documents. (

Buchanan, P, and Framption, K. (2006). Ten Shade of Green architecture and the natural world. The Architecture League of New York.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). (2008). Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2007. Ministry of Power, Govt. of India.

Butera, F.M. (2005). Glass Architecture: Is it sustainable?. International Conference. Passive and Low Energy Cooling for the Built Environment. Santorini, Greece.

Crouch, D.P, and Johnson, J.G. (2001). Traditions in Architecture – Africa, America, Asia & Oceania. Oxford University Press, New York.

Carmody, J, Selkowitz, S, Lee, E. S, Arasteh, D, and Willmert, T. (2004). Window Systems for High – Performance Buildings. First Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, New York and London.

Dempsey, N, and Bramley, G. (2012). The Social Dimension of Sustainable Development: Defining Urban Social Sustainability. Sustainable Development, 19: 289-300.

Gonzalo, R, and Habermann, K.J. (2006). Energy Efficient Architecture – Basic for Planning & Construction. Birkhauser - Publisher for Architecture, Basel. Boston. Berlin.

Healey, K, and Mannison, M. W. (2012). Exploring the Influence of Qualitative Factors on the Thermal Comfort of Office Occupants. Architectural Science Review, Vol 55 (3): 169-175.

Hilmarsson, J. G. (2008). Double Skin Façade - Evaluating the Viability of the Component. Copenhagen Technical Academy.

Koenigsberger , O,H, Ingersoll, T.G, and Mayhew, A. (2000). Manual of Tropical Housing and Building. Orient Longman.

Krishan, A, Baker, N, Tannas, S, and Szokolay, S. (1999). Climatic Responsive Architecture – A Design handbook for Energy Efficient Buildings. Tata McGraw-Hill, India.

Manríquez, R, Fuentes,V, and Guerrero, L. (2006). Traditional Architecture and Bioclimatic Design Case of study: Tecozautla. Hgo. Mexico, PLEA 2006 – 23rd Conference.

Oral, G. K, Yener, A. K, and Bayazit, N. T. (2004). Building Envelope Design with the Objective to Ensure Thermal, Visual and Acoustic Comfort Conditions. Building and Environment, 39: 281 – 287.

Plessis, C. (2003). Analyzing the sustainability of human settlements in South Africa: Challenges and methods. CSIR Building and Construction Technology, Pretoria.

Poirazis, H. (2006). Double skin facades, A Literature Review. Lund Institute of Technology, Lund, Sweden.

Ruso, P. (2006). Academy Mont-Cenis: Outdoors is Indoors. ENVS 664, Green Building Project.

Szokolay, S.V. (2008). Introduction to Architectural Science – The Basis of Sustainable Design. Second Edition, Elsevier.

Thomas, R, (2002). Environmental Design – An Introduction for Architects and Engineers. Third Edition, Taylor & Francis group, New York.

USAID-ECO-III. (2009). Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) - User Guide. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), New Delhi.




How to Cite

Kumar, G., & Raheja, G. (2016). Design Determinants of Building Envelope for Sustainable Built Environment: A Review. International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, 3(2).