The Hidden Risks Of LEED: Avoiding Moisture & Mold Problems

featured in the Texas Architect, September 2008

YESTERDAY’S SEAL OF APPROVAL for new products was “It was developed by NASA.” Today the seal of approval is: it’s “organically produced,” “LEED-certified,” “earth-friendly,” or some variation of the above. Just as “NASA-developed” was no guarantee of success, neither is LEED-certified any assurance of no problems, especially those problems related to moisture accumulation. Although some indicators of a building’s performance (such as occupant comfort, energy usage, and odors) can be ignored, you can’t easily ignore water pouring through a wall assembly. We don’t believe that anyone would deem a structure “sustainable” if it cannot survive the first five years without a major renovation because of moisture problems. It’s our belief that the moisture integrity of a building …

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The Hidden Risks Of Green Buildings: Avoiding Moisture & Mold Problems

Some experts have described the green building movement as “the #1 mega-trend that will change the rules of global business.”

The great irony of building green in the southeast is that the very concepts that are intended to enhance a building’s performance over its entire lifetime are many of the same practices that make a building highly susceptible to catastrophic moisture & mold problems during its first few summers of operation.

While LEED-certified buildings have many positive benefits, there is strong evidence to suggest a direct correlation between new products/innovative design and building failures — especially in Florida’s humid climate. Simply put, departing from the “tried and true” often means increasing the risk of building failure.

This article presents “Must Know Information” if you’re considering green buildings!

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Commissioning Buildings in Hot Humid Climates: Design & Construction Guidelines

Prepared in cooperation with Disney Development Company, this book deals exclusively with aspects of the design, construction or operation of buildings for which even relatively minor errors can have devastating results when the building is located in a hot, humid climate. Disney’s consistent adherence to the principles outlined in this manual has dramatically reduced problems in its new construction. The information presented combines the experience of CH2M Hill, the largest environmental engineering firm in the U.S., and Disney, one of the premier facility planning and management firms in the world. Key issues covered include indoor air quality problem factors; hot humid climate considerations; new building failure; and a model for future success. Specifically addressed are schematic design, design development, final design, construction, and post-construction startup and system commissioning. The concepts and approaches presented are those which have proven successful in designing and operating problem-free indoor building environments in hot and humid locations.

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Designer’s Notebook: Avoidance of Mold

Is Your Green Building the Best it Can Be?

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Mold and Moisture Prevention:

Despite the presence of improved technology, increased training opportunities, and more sophisticated building systems, moisture and mold problems continue to affect new buildings. This monograph demonstrates how to detect and prevent moisture intrusion and avoid costly setbacks in the design and construction phase of a project.

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Preventing Moisture and Mold Problems: Design and Construction Guidelines

Avoid Litigation from Moisture and Mold Problems

David Odom and George DuBose of Liberty Building Forensics Group have authored a manual, Preventing Moisture & Mold Problems: Design and Construction Guideline. This manual provides the latest information on constructing moisture and mold-free buildings.

Specific instructions are provided by this manual in the following key areas:

  • Building envelope and rainwater intrusion solutions.
  • HVAC and humidity control solutions
  • Moisture and mold remediation.

This 100-page manual provides a series of proven guidelines on specific ways to avoid moisture and mold problems. The authors’ previous manual was prepared for Disney Development Company and has been used as a guide for successfully completing more than $2 billion in construction. It has become one of the most respected design and construction publications in the industry.

Together Mr. Odom and Mr. DuBose have over 35 years of experience in predicting, preventing, diagnosing, and successfully remediating moisture and mold problems in over 500 buildings.

The manual sells for $85 which includes shipping and handling costs. For more information on obtaining this manual, contact Liberty Building Forensics Group or call 407-703-1300.

Avoiding Moisture & Mold Problems in Florida Buildings

Design and Construction Guidelines – Featured in the Florida Engineering Society Journal, November 2006

Just months after occupying their new, multimillion-dollar municipal building, employees of a Florida county began complaining of chronic sinus problems, allergy attacks, headaches and asthma – classic signs of sick-building syndrome and building-related illness…

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Moisture Problems: Why HVAC Commissioning Procedures Don’t Work in Humid Climates

CH2MHill article featured in the Eighth Symposium on Improved Methods of Building Design in Hot/Humid Climates, Texas A&M University, 1992

Moisture-related damage in commercial buildings is a pervasive, costly problem in hot, humid climates. Excess moisture in buildings can stem from failure to control a number of climatic moisture sources, including rain, ground water, moisture diffusion, and air flows. A growing body of evidence indicates that the most problematic of these climatic moisture sources in hot, humid climates…
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The Risks of Building Green in the Southeast

The great irony of building green in the Southeast is that it may substantially increase a contractor’s risk of lawsuits. Building green means adding more wall and roof insulation, decreasing a building’s energy use, providing better ventilation, and using more organic products. Unfortunately, building scientists and forensic engineers who specialize in construction failures in hot, humid climates sty these green building features also create structures with…

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