The research demonstration home is shown under construction.
MADISON, WI — The Advanced Housing Research Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory has recruited Research Products Corp., headquartered here, to help study moisture and humidity control in residential construction. To this end, the company’s Aprilaire® automatic humidifier and other products are being included in a 2,200-sq-ft research demonstration home now under construction on the Forest Products Lab grounds in Madison. According to Anton TenWolde, supervisory research physicist at Forest Products Lab, the demonstration house features a number of construction details designed to keep damaging moisture out of the roof and walls. The house will serve as an ongoing wood research project for the lab, as well as a tool to educate the public about energy- and cost-saving technologies in home construction.

One of the project’s main objectives, TenWolde said, is to develop a better humidity control system for residential structures.

“Many of the biggest building performance issues we see in this northern climate have to do with moisture problems, one of them being a lack of humidity,” he related. “The research house, which will remain unoccupied, gives us a chance to monitor moisture levels and eventually develop improved humidity control methods.”

TenWolde plans to place moisture sensors in wall and roof cavities, around some of the openings in the building envelope, and in the basement.

He said he envisions using equipment such as the automatic humidifier to generate a high level of humidity in the house and, over time, study the use of controls. Eventually, research results from the home will be released to the public.

Additional Aprilaire products included in the research project include a zone control system, high-efficiency electronic air cleaner, and several programmable thermostats.

“The entire house will showcase innovative, state-of-the-art building options from a variety of companies,” TenWolde said. An October 20 grand opening for the public is planned, and tours will be available on an ongoing basis.

For more information about the demonstration home, call the Advanced Housing Research Center at 608-231-9200. For information on Aprilaire products, call Research Products Corp. at 800-334-6011.

Publication date: 08/20/2001