Markets > Civil Engineering

Overview

In the building industry, monitoring of indoor environmental quality ensures long-term sustainability of the built environment. Applications include monitoring of: (1) condensation on internal building surfaces, (2) moisture in rising damp in heritage buildings, and (3) corrosion of rebar and metal elements in concrete structures. Moisture is known to have detrimental effects on buildings and structures, particularly in tropical climates. Many historic buildings and monuments have undergone expensive conservation efforts and require continuous monitoring to evaluate the efficacy of treatments and detect the onset of any deterioration or instability of the structure. Buildings and structures constructed using modern methods suffer similarly from problems associated with moisture and corrosion. Environmental quality monitoring provides invaluable data for determination of the durability and remnant life of the building and its components. The results can then be utilized in future design of new buildings, restoration of existing buildings, and maintenance management to ensure sustainability.

Benefits

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publication 402-F-13053 documents that the cost of health problems and building damage due to moisture can be extremely expensive. Berkeley Lab estimates that just the annual asthma-related medical costs attributable to exposures to dampness and mold total approximately $3.5 billion in the U.S. Building owners and tenants bear a significant proportion of these costs, including: (1) absenteeism due to illnesses such as asthma, (2) reduced productivity due to moisture-related health and comfort problems, (3) increased insurance risk, repair and replacement, (4) costs associated with corroded structural fasteners, (5) wiring and damaged moisture-sensitive materials, (6) repair and replacement costs associated with damaged furniture, products and supplies, (7) loss of use of building spaces after damage and during repairs, and (8) increased insurance and litigation costs related to moisture damage claims.

Many water-related problems are not obvious and can be difficult to detect or diagnose. For example, the adhesive that secures flooring to a concrete slab may not cure properly if the slab is damp, resulting in loose flooring and microbial growth in the adhesive. Or, humid indoor air may condense on the cool backside of vinyl wallpaper that covers an exterior wall, providing ideal conditions for mold to grow. These problems are less obvious than a leak because water is not running across the floor, and the real damage is being done out of sight under flooring or behind wallpaper. Analatom’s AN110 CHMS is uniquely suited to monitor these events as it is installed beneath coatings and sealants to detect early onset of hidden moisture

Example Application

Analatom's AN110 sensors have been installed on several heritage buildings in Singapore to monitor environmental conditions and determine excess moisture or condensation buildup within the structures. There are more than 11,000 buildings in Singapore. The city has one UNESCO World Heritage Site, 72 gazetted heritage monuments, and over 7000 conserved buildings where the environmental monitoring provided by the AN110 systems are crucial.