The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved GreenGuard Environmental Institute's (GEI) Mold and Moisture Standard for New Construction. It is believed to be the first standard to focus solely on mold and moisture issues that can arise in the construction of new buildings.
The standard details design, construction, and maintenance procedures for preventing mold growth. It focuses on moisture intrusion from the beginning of the design process and directs building material suppliers to deliver goods to the worksite in a dry and clean (free of mold growth) condition. Furthermore, the standard includes a mold and moisture management plan on construction sites, including protecting materials that were delivered. It additionally emphasizes to owners and occupants that they have an impact on the long-term performance of a building through operations and maintenance procedures.
"Twenty-five percent of airways and 60 percent of interstitial lung disease may be associated with moisture in the home or work environment," GEI Executive Director Henning Bloech told Green Building Insider, citing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development statistics from 2001. "Asking people to simply protect on-site material or to throw out building material that exhibits biological growth is inadequate when addressing this prevalent problem as estimates put one in 20 of all construction as potentially failing due to moisture intrusion. Any person involved in a building that has had moisture intrusion and subsequent mold damage will never want to go through that again.
As more and more buildings have issues with moisture and mold, more and more building professionals will look to minimize these potential issues. While we estimate that between 20 percent and 30 percent of new buildings will be focused on this issue in the next five years, all of them should focus, or at least take interest in this issue."
Bloech reported that there are several sustainable building standards currently going through consensus development (Green Globes
, International Green Construction Code
,American Society of Heating
, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 189.1) that have minor sections about mold and moisture. A minimal focus on moisture intrusion and the potentially severe effects of mold on buildings and human health is the reason why GEI developed the only consensus standard devoted exclusively focused on this area, he said.