The application of air layers in building envelopes: A review

Tiantian Zhang, Yufei Tan, Hongxing Yang, Xuedan Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Air layer involved envelopes (ALIEs) have gained considerable popularity in modern building design and construction, owing to their great potential in improving the building thermal performance. Basically, the air layer functions as an extra insulation layer or as a ventilation channel. This paper presents a literature review on building envelopes that contain inner air layers by tracing recent studies on existing air layer involved applications and technologies in walls, windows, roofs. The structural characteristics, the driving forces, the effects of the inner air layers, and the benefits of different types of ALIE systems are summarized and classified. And then operation modes of air layer used in building envelopes are roughly classified into three types: the enclosed type, the naturally ventilated type and the mechanically ventilated type. At the end, this paper analyzes current research gaps and provides possible future research directions on air layer technologies in building envelopes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-734
Number of pages28
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Air layer
  • Air layer involved envelop (ALIE)
  • Building envelop
  • Roof
  • Wall
  • Window

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'The application of air layers in building envelopes: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this