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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Updating a Building Design Standard with Improved Criteria for Preventing Mold Growth

Cover of ASHRAE Standard 160-2016
Cover of ASHRAE Standard 160-2016
Snapshot: A consensus standard for building design that addresses moisture control analysis was recently revised to improve the criteria for preventing mold growth.

Building designers often address many different expectations. Designers commonly run analysis for various performance criteria, such as life safety (e.g., structural, fire), comfort, lighting, acoustics, energy use, and environmental impact. An important consideration for human health and building serviceability is avoiding potential moisture problems such as mold growth. Although moisture problems are often a result of improper construction, building operation, or maintenance, some moisture problems stem from poor design, and fixing moisture problems is much less expensive during the design process than after construction is underway. A consensus standard developed by an international expert committee, known as ASHRAE Standard 160, Criteria for Moisture-Control Design Analysis in Buildings, has included criteria to prevent mold growth since it was published in 2009. Since then researchers and practitioners have pointed out that the criteria were unrealistic both scientifically and practically. This collaborative project investigated a state-of-the-art empirical model that describes mold growth and decline over time and takes into account the sensitivity of the material and the surface temperature and humidity conditions. The results showed that this model did a much better job of predicting mold growth in buildings than the old criteria in the standard.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Glass, Samuel V.

Research Location:
  • Madison, WI

External Partners:
  • Building Science Corporation
  • CertainTeed Corporation
  • RDH Building Science Laboratories

Fiscal Year: 2018
Highlight ID: 1312
Related Research Emphasis Areas: