This project will determine root causes of excessive building moisture and demonstrate energy-efficient technologies addressing prevention of moisture problems occurring in Department of Defense (DoD) buildings in hot-humid climates. This project will also demonstrate technology for monitoring building humidity and pressurization that will afford early detection and initiate building management preventive actions. The project team aims to quantify economic benefits in order to justify inclusion of moisture control measures in an energy savings performance contracts/utility energy service contract project. Excessive humidity in conditioned DoD buildings, characterized as sustained relative humidity levels above 60%, presents ongoing problems with occupant comfort, mold growth, excessive heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption, damage to equipment and materials, and remediation costs. Excessive moisture in buildings is particularly prevalent at DoD installations located in the Department of Energy-defined hot/warm-humid climate region. There are an estimated 30,000 DoD buildings in the very hot-, hot and warm-humid regions, with many on the coast where humidity is greater than at inland sites and storm surges can exacerbate building moisture problems.
Advantek will first gather existing data from DoD installations in humid regions to characterize past and current problems experienced with excessive moisture in conditioned buildings. Subsequently, Advantek, advised by a Working Group knowledgeable of DoD buildings, will select five DoD buildings with ongoing moisture control problems and identify causes of excessive moisture. The project team will then select and install humidity control technology to ameliorate the excessive humidity in two buildings to demonstrate controlling moisture. Based on the results of these activities, the team will develop a technical bulletin and webinar to educate DoD facility managers on causes, prevention and solutions to moisture control issues. Several ESTCP projects have successfully demonstrated technologies that provide effective moisture control, including, EW-201338, EW-201717, and EW-201144 for HVAC humidity control, and EW-201511, EW18-5320 for building envelope sensing and sealing. These technologies address the critical role of HVAC systems and of building envelope integrity for moisture control, and the principle investigators of these projects will participate in the technology demonstrations.
Providing guidance that emphasizes prevention of moisture control problems and offers proven solutions for controlling humidity will benefit DoD by avoiding costly building humidity issues. Prevention of moisture problems, rather than reaction to damage, odors, and occupant complaints, will be emphasized by presenting typical root causative factors, and the benefits of controlling and monitoring building humidity and pressurization with demonstrated technologies. With anticipated increased temperatures and, for coastal DoD sites, increased moisture intrusion, education on causes and solutions can result in reduced costs for building operation and avoidance of moisture problems that otherwise can remain hidden and eventually require expensive remediation.