WUFI Consultation Service
Protect your Building and its Occupants from Mold
Things are changing quickly. With the old wall systems consisting of 2x6‘s and batt insulation, there has typically been enough wasted indoor heat making its way through the wall by air leaks & thermal bridges to keep exterior sheeting decay in check. These systems have been pretty good at preventing mold growth with lessons learned about not stacking impermeable layers on both sides of a wall, no matter the climate.
The current movement towards super-insulation and very low air-leakage rates is becoming increasingly attractive from both cost of operation and environmental viewpoints. As neither energy costs, or environmental degradation by the use of fossil fuels are expected to decrease, our building envelopes will need to substantially improve to keep both the rising energy effects and costs in check.
As building envelopes become thicker, tighter, and more complex, it’s important to make sure that they will remain healthy in the long run. A wall or roof system that collects and traps moisture and thus condenses into water can grow mold, a serious health concern for the building occupants. In addition to surface mold, which can make people sick, other fungi growing in wooden structural members can eventually cause decay leading to premature building failure.
Here is what a worst case scenario looks like: A home of undetermined age in Washington State is infested with massive amounts of mold and fungi while occupied. It appears that this is an older home due to the what looks like shiplap on 2x4 studs. The best guess is that something has been added to the exterior layer and that there is no longer an ability to dry to the exterior. Once the blooms have begun an infestation, it's extremely difficult to stop the spread. Especially if you can't see it.
What WUFI and The Small Planet Workshop Can Do For You
A WUFI Exam is like taking your building to the see a physician. While we can’t completely predict the future, just like our own bodies, a check-up done by a professional can prevent long-term health problems before they occur. As we’ve all learned, finding the problem after the fact is the most expensive lesson.
WUFI allows your proposed wall or roof section to be virtually constructed: it can be put into a certain climate condition, turn on/off the sun or rain depending on what other factors influence the conditions of that location (such as overhangs, rain-screens or shading from other sources), and then run a series of calculations over a time period that would represent the weather effects that can be expected over a measured time frame (which can be several years.)
The most essential factors affecting mold growth are the temperature, the relative humidity and the substrate quality. While this program does not yet take into consideration the effect of material degradation over time, it will give the indication of how a construction will fair through wetting and drying cycles: Does the assembly dry out? How long does it take? What is the potential for mold growth? Where and how much?
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