ATLANTA - Due to the proliferation of mold in buildings, sound moisture management should take precedence over energy cost savings, according to a new position document from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Energy conservation goals may conflict with moisture management goals. In fact, traditional methods of dehumidification, such as reheat systems, may increase energy use, Ron Vallort, ASHRAE president, said.
"Considering energy conservation and moisture management goals in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of HVAC systems can minimize energy use and cost," he said. "However, the impact of mold proliferation suggests that energy cost savings should not be achieved at the expense of sound moisture management."
Minimizing Indoor Mold Through Management of Moisture in Building Systems outlines ASHRAE's position on the management of moisture in buildings by describing issues related to the topic and highlighting resources available through the Society regarding the management of moisture and mold in buildings.
The document recommends that for proper moisture management: Building envelopes, penetrations, and building systems should be designed and built to protect the indoor environment and the building materials from water infiltration or accumulation. Building and system design should consider internal or exterior moisture that could cause condensation on surfaces or within materials. Building and system design, operation, and maintenance should provide for drying of surfaces and materials prone to moisture accumulation under normal operating conditions. Building and system design, operation, and maintenance should provide for water management of surfaces and materials that are expected to have moisture present. Mechanical system design should properly address ventilation air. Building and system design, construction, and operation should take into account occupant uses. Each building should have an operation and maintenance plan. The sequence of operation for the HVAC system should contain appropriate provisions to manage humidity, control pressurization, and monitor critical conditions. Moisture accumulation should be investigated in a timely manner and steps should be taken to identify and control the course of water.
Minimizing Indoor Mold Through Management of Moisture in Building Systems can be downloaded for free via the "Position Documents" shortcut at www.ashrae.org.
Publication date: 06/06/2005