Building Science

Dealing with Moisture Problems in Energy Efficient Buildings

Today’s con­struc­tion indus­try strives to pro­duce build­ings that are tighter and more ener­gy-effi­cient. These build­ings con­sume few­er resources, usu­al­ly require less main­te­nance, last longer and are bet­ter able to with­stand dan­ger­ous weath­er con­di­tions.

The down­side of new­er build­ings with tighter designs, how­ev­er, is that they may devel­op prob­lems relat­ed to excess mois­ture. Tight­ly sealed win­dows, for exam­ple, may result in a buildup of con­den­sa­tion, or excess mois­ture from the exte­ri­or might make its way into the wall spaces. Both of these issues can lead to the devel­op­ment of mold and the break­down of build­ing mate­ri­als because inter­nal con­di­tions are at a high humid­i­ty lev­el.

Avoid Mold Growth and Poor Indoor Air Quality

Build­ing own­ers should con­trol the amount of mois­ture in a build­ing to mold growth and the low­er air qual­i­ty that results from it. Here are some ideas for reduc­ing mois­ture issues in tight build­ings:

Ensure that there is mechan­i­cal ven­ti­la­tion of indoor air. Most con­tem­po­rary build­ings have few­er air leaks, which means that a build­ing own­er can con­trol the air move­ment through­out all inte­ri­or spaces.

There are still risk fac­tors, how­ev­er, like the poten­tial for cold air to get in where warm air escapes. Build­ing own­ers, there­fore, will want to ensure that there are bar­ri­ers pre­vent­ing mois­ture and excess air from enter­ing the build­ing when it is being con­struct­ed. To solve this prob­lem, archi­tects and con­trac­tors often resort to adding more lay­ers to walls dur­ing con­struc­tion. But each addi­tion­al lay­er costs more and increas­es the poten­tial for mis­takes to be made dur­ing instal­la­tion.

It only takes one area of mold buildup to poten­tial­ly com­pro­mise air qual­i­ty and the health of the occu­pants through­out an entire struc­ture.

Peo­ple want to live in build­ings that con­sume less ener­gy, but not at the cost of mold col­o­niza­tion and poor indoor air qual­i­ty. It is up to archi­tects to strike a bal­ance between seal­ing up all the poten­tial sources of air leaks and allow­ing the build­ing to breathe.

As long as build­ings con­tin­ue to be built with wood, met­al or con­crete wall sys­tems that were designed decades ago, mois­ture prob­lems will con­tin­ue.

Many archi­tects and build­ing own­ers are search­ing for new wall sys­tems that are designed specif­i­cal­ly for the needs of mod­ern, ener­gy effi­cient build­ings. Wall sys­tems that are sim­pler to design and build, with few­er com­po­nents rather than more. Walls that can be built faster to reduce con­struc­tion time and improve the owner’s return on invest­ment.

The Bau­tex wall sys­tem is an exam­ple of this type of inno­v­a­tive new, sim­pler, faster and bet­ter wall sys­tem. Click here to learn more about the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem and how it can improve your next build­ing project.