The mission of designing high-performance buildings that promote sustainable objectives has led to new success stories but has also revealed vulnerabilities for potential mold and moisture failures.
The interaction between a building’s HVAC system and envelope creates an unusually high-risk area. Any deficiency in either system can cause dramatic, building-wide moisture and mold problems. Through the emergence of high-performance buildings combined with the use of certain new green products, designers and contractors have inadvertently created high-risk buildings when, in fact, the goal should be to develop high-performance buildings with the lowest possible risk of failure.
There is no building envelope which a creative architect can envision that a poorly designed or performing HVAC system cannot destroy. Conversely, a well-performing HVAC system can often compensate for a marginally designed (or constructed) building envelope to the point that mold and moisture problems may never be noticed. However, even an exceptionally well-performing HVAC system cannot compensate for a poorly designed wall system.
A simplification of the above concept can be stated as follows:
● Bad Envelope Design + Bad HVAC Design = Guaranteed Moisture Problems
● Good Envelope Design + Bad HVAC Design = Likely Moisture Problems
● Bad Envelope Design + Good HVAC Design = Likely Moisture Problems
● Good Envelope Design + Good HVAC Design = Likely Success
Recently, LBFG and NCARB developed an online course for architects, contractors, and developers that teaches how to avoid these kinds of problems. This course is based upon a significant upgrade to the popular 2003 Mold and Moisture Prevention Monograph. Visit http://bit.ly/1Y3kOFd for more information.
LBFG has extensive expertise in investigating and resolving construction and design deficiencies in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states, as well as in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, China, Europe, UAE, Hong Kong, Maldives, and Singapore. LBFG staff have authored 3 manuals that are currently serving as industry standards for avoiding and resolving mold and moisture problems, including both the NCARB training monograph used by architects worldwide and Disney’s in-house design guidelines.