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The System Approach to Thermal Performance - Control of Condensation and Mold in Buildings
We are seeing headlines every day, advising that a school, office building or courthouse has been closed due to mold. The cost of remediation plus the damage to the reputations of building owners, architects, builders and the cost of litigation is immense. Why is this problem surfacing now when mankind has been building for thousands of years? Why are buildings suffering increased problems of structural deterioration? The answer is that over the last 25 years as we have insulated buildings to conserve energy inadvertently we have created the necessary conditions for mold growth. This presentation will introduce the changes in thinking in Building Science which are leading us away from a reliance on R-Value based insulation to advances in air sealing which controls the leakage of air and moisture vapor into the building envelope. New soft foam insulation is now being used in retrofit and new buildings to solve mold and moisture condensation problems. At the same time downsizing of HVAC equipment and energy savings of up to 50% have been reported. This presentation will provide an introduction to Building Physics and the importance of air movement to explain why we must approach the design of a building as a system, rather than a collection of building components thrown together.
Nicklas, R. (2002). The System Approach to Thermal Performance - Control of Condensation and Mold in Buildings. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from