The ways in which the internal environments of buildings are controlled have become very sophisticated as the needs of occupiers have evolved. The degree to which we are able to moderate the internal environmental conditions using the building enclosure and building services is great. However, it is easy to take for granted some of the features of buildings that affect the internal environment and to overlook the basis of the evolution of these features. Dwellings are generally designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Many of the details that we associate with building style and aesthetics have their origins in the need to satisfy functional needs. As buildings have developed, the role of building services to control heat, light and ventilation has become more significant. It is easy to forget that these services rely on the existence of an appropriate building envelope in order to achieve the required level of performance. The dwelling as we now know it has its origins in the simplest form of building enclosure, created by people to protect themselves from the extremes of the environment. The factors that led people to develop such enclosures in historic times are still evident today, and the function of dwellings, although now much more sophisticated, is still essentially the same as it was then. One of the primary functions of the building fabric is to create an environmental envelope.
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