No one wants to mention it, but mold is a big problem in California’s developing world. Mold removal, consulting, and rebuilding from damage sits in at around $14B a year in this state alone, making it the number one fault in the industry. While the causes for mold are unavoidable – it is very difficult to survive in an area without moisture – the amount of mold that arises in a lot of development projects is avoidable.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind mold in new buildings and the solutions during the design stages that can be made to circumvent the problem. We will not only be talking about more traditional styles of architecture, but high-performance and sustainable products as well.
The root of the problem
Mold is fungus spores. Regardless of where we grew up, it’s very likely that we know what it is and where it’s likely to occur in buildings: dark, damp spaces; foundations; inside walls and ceilings, especially in bathrooms or cellars; the list goes on.
The reason that we are finding mold in new buildings is not a result of external moisture seeping into the environment and creating a hospital zone for mold growth – it’s quite the opposite. Insulation techniques have gotten so efficient that the potential of a hermetic seal is possible in just about any development project. In fact, many high-performance designs have to carry oxygen sensors to ensure that the rooms are hospitable if the windows and doors are closed for long period.
If you mix a highly sealed area with a lack of ventilation, any moisture that is introduced to the area – human breathing, for example – remains in the environment. It is a lack of ventilation that spurs mold growth in new buildings, not a lack of insulation.
The solution to finding the right ventilation method to ensure that an insulated area can properly function. A building is its own ecosystem – a house breathes and requires a certain amount of balance or it runs the risk of moisture retention. Creating a house that doesn’t seal properly means that water gets in – but the opposite is just as true.
When it comes to commercial development projects, find a consultant who understands that the building will be its own miniature ecosystem, and stress the importance of proper ventilation.