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High Rise Mold Problems

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A lot has been written lately about mold in high rise buildings. The most feared mold appears to be Stachybotrys. This black mold has been linked to lung bleeding and other health problems.

The controversy has started over the building envelope. In order for mold to grow one needs 3 things. Spores, humidity, and a host. The Stachybotry mold grows on cellulose. Some people claim that the problem is that buildings are sealed too much. I'm not of that opinion. Sources of water in a high rise building are leaks, showers, exhalation, taps, sinks, dishwashers and condensation. The real problem is buildings are not designed to treat this air, which could be cleaned, dehumidified, or humidified, and then recirculated. Warm air at the top of the building carries more moisture than the cool air at the bottom of the building.

In our research on this issue we have determined that much heat loss happens at the top of the high rise. This leads to a requirement to replace this air. In the northern hemisphere this means cold, and often damp air is introduced into the building. This cold damp air meets warm surfaces and condensation takes place.

When we installed a UL listed garbage chute closure we patented, we were able to stop some of the movement of air, and thus control the amount of cold, untreated, humid air entering the building. Once that infiltration is reduced a lot of the previous building envelope problems were lessened.

It appears that the lawsuits against property owners for mold in high buildings are gaining momentum. The insurance industry is reeling from large awards given to residents of high rise buildings with mold problems.

High Rise Property Managers need mold solutions. I'm sure that this must be a particular problem in the west coast areas like Vancouver and Seattle. Does anyone have anything they can share as to experience with black or green mold in a high rise? What if any solutions are there that solve high humidity problems in tall buildings? As my experience with instrumentation is limited, and I do not have a travel and experimentation budget I have to go with what I can find out on-line or from collaborators.

John Conley

Sales and Marketing Guy, Computer Guy, Webmaster, Troubleshooter, etc.

(Hey it's a 3 man start-up company ok? LOL)

Chute Controls Inc.

London, Ontario

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