Moisture Control Green Building

Moisture Control, Water Control, Green Building, Green Buiders, Energy-Efficient Homes, Green Houses

Moisture Control in Green Building

Understanding Water in a Green Home

This website is for the climate zone that includes North Central Texas or the DFW area such as Plano, Keller, or Dallas-Fort Worth Texas.  Regardless of your climate zone, the first priority for green building or energy-efficient remodeling is to hire an energy consultant and a green builder who understand and use up-to-date green building practices for your area. 

A green home is:
  • Durable
  • Sustainable
  • Comfortable.

Water is not only the most important factor affecting a home’s durability, itis also the most important factor affecting the home’s maintenance costs andsustainability.

Jim Sargent, chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy as the Builder of theYear for his energy-efficient homes, tells his green building classes,"Homes last longer in dry areas. Moisture is the enemy. In fact, thebiggest enemy your house has is moisture. If a builder has a problem with thehouse, 99% of the time it is going to be water or water vapor related. If abuilder needs to be an expert on anything, it is water control."

Homes get wet during construction, during renovation or with age. The problem,though, is not that homes get wet but the solutions for moisture control. Homesneed a good drying system in place and it is important that they are dried asquickly as possible.  

The concept of drying and the design of homes to dry is part of moisturecontrol. Moisture and its movement must be controlled from the beginning of thebuild job to the end of the home’s life.

There are several sources of moisture in the home. Themost important to control are below. 

  • Rain.
  • Plumbing.
  • Ground water.

Sargent says, "Controlling rain is the single most important factor inthe design and construction of durable buildings and in the control ofmold."

Building physicist Joe Lstiburek takes it one step further and declares,"If you can’t control rain and ground water, it is senseless to go furtherin building a structure."

Sargent continues, "Homes must be designed with rain control for thelocation’s climate in mind. For example, we get an average of 39 inches of raina year in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, it does not come one inch hereand one inch there. We get most of the rain in short periods of time in thespring and the fall. Homes should be designed like we get 120 inches of rain ayear instead of 39 inches."

Other sources of water that need to be kept under control are:

  • Moisture from human & animal bodies.
  • Moisture from human activities such as cooking, bathing, or washing dishes and  clothes.  
  • Exterior moisture and water vapor
  • Construction moisture–from building materials.
  • Surface water
  • Snow and ice damming (not a DFW problem).

These sources might have different significance in different climates (suchas snow in Dallas or snow in Minneapolis). The moisture sources and theirclimate significance must be considered when choosing materials for theconstruction of a home. 

Climate significance must also be addressed when allocating resources formoisture control. For example, Minneapolis needs resources allocated for snowand ice damming control; North Central Texas does not.

Moisture moves by a number of means: capillary flow, vapor flow, airconvection, and gravity flow. Each of these mechanisms is driven by differentforces and moves at vastly different rates through different materials. Thisalso determines the choice of building materials for home construction.

Often walls get wet during the home’s construction from rain or otherprecipitation. Even if they don’t get wet then, they will get wet later fromother means–often from both the outside and the inside of the wall.Consequently, all walls should be designed to dry, preferably from both sidesbut definitely from at least one side.

Dealing with moisture is a very complicated subject for a builder tounderstand, much less for the general public to understand. And it is often evenmore complicated in a renovation of an older home. Choosinga builder who understands water and pays attention to water details is asimportant as choosing a builder who understands energy-efficiency.

There are two other aspects of water that must be considered in a green home.

1. Water conservation.
2. Conservation of energy when heating water.

More information about water and moisture:
Properties/Behaviors of Water 
Moisture Problems Green Building
 
Humidity  
Hot Water 
Water Conservation

Do you need an energy consult
or energy audit or
green builder/remodeler
in North Central Texas
or the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
Contact Terry Jensen
Frugal Energy, LLC
817 443-2553 or 972 251-1532

 

Contact
Copyright © 2007-2011 Dallas-Fort Worth Green Building and Renewable Energy. All rights reserved.Reprinted with permission which is not universally given. Please contact DFWGreen Building and Renewable Energy for permission in writing before using thesecopyrighted materials.

Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent,LLC. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.This website explains green building and green remodeling for a climate zonecomparable to North Central Texas or Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas,  It isimportant to hire a green builder and an energy consultant who are experts inenergy-efficient building in your climate zone and who use the most up-to-dategreen building information.