By Fairmont Press, J. David Odom, George Dubose

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The point where cool surfaces meet warm, moist air is where condensation and excess moisture can occur. If moisture-laden outside air is retarded before it meets the first cool surface inside the building envelope (often called the ''first plane of condensation''), then few problems will result. If this moisture is allowed to further enter a wall system, it will condense. Then, moisture and microbial growth problems can be a real threat. If the cool surfaces and moist air meet within the building space, then moisture problems can occur throughout the building, resulting in widespread mildew odors and complaints from occupants.

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of both CH2M HILL and Disney Development Company. ©1997 by CH2M HILL and Disney Development Corporation Page vii Author Comment An alarming number of new buildings fail, and often in dramatic fashion. If you are in the business of designing, constructing, or operating schools, laboratories, hotels, courthouses, or other types of municipal buildings, your buildings are at high risk for failure.

The architects, engineers, and microbiologists tasked with finding the cause of these symptoms identified a problem that is becoming widespread nationwidesevere microbial contamination of the building. Mold and mildew were growing unchecked throughout the building's air-conditioning (AC) system and in many spaces within the building. Figure 1.  Mold and mildew were the culprits, and in the end, the problem will require more than $20 million to repair. The mold and mildew were the direct result of excess moisture in the building, which was caused by a combination of rainwater leaks and a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system that pulled moist outside air into the building during the hours when the cooling system had cycled off.

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Commissioning Buildings in Hot, Humid Climates: Design and by Fairmont Press, J. David Odom, George Dubose
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