When HVAC Systems, Building Envelopes and Climate Collide: Avoiding Disaster
Building forensics experts have long known that seemingly small changes in a building design can increase the risk of failure in parts of the building that historically have not been a problem. One research group calls this phenomena “complexity driven risk”. One recent example of this the emergence of significant mold and moisture damage from a change in the floor design in new apartment buildings. In an effort to create high sound attenuation between floors and interior/exterior walls, apartment designers and contractors have inadvertently tightened the building envelope so much that there is significant chance of accumulated moisture. This, in conjunction with poor air-conditioning dehumidification and drying has caused these complexes to have to replace damaged bathroom and kitchen cabinets throughout.