ATLANTA - In recent years, moisture problems such as mold growth have become big issues for building owners and operators. Computer simulation tools have been developed to predict thermal and moisture conditions in buildings, but the results can vary greatly with the assumptions for indoor and outdoor conditions. To help combat this issue, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is proposing a standard that formulates design assumptions for moisture design analysis and criteria for acceptable performance.

ASHRAE's proposed Standard 160P, Design Criteria for Moisture Control in Buildings, is open for public comment until Nov. 6, 2006. The proposed standard goes beyond prescriptive recommendations for moisture control in buildings that are currently in the ASHRAE Handbook and in building codes.

"Standard 160 gives us a methodology for the first time to make consistent design recommendations, such as the need, type, and placement of vapor barriers, in any climate," said Anton TenWolde, chair of the committee that drafted the standard. "The standard requires the designer to think about the interior conditions that will be maintained in the building and the effect that may have on the building envelope."

A draft of the proposed standard is available only during the public review period. To obtain an electronic draft version of Standard 160P during the comment period, visit

Publication date: 10/16/2006