New approaches to tackling the scourge of damp buildings
Across the world, dampness accounts for 70-80% of all reported building problems including structural complications and related health issues. Dr Hector Altamirano, of UCL Bartlett School of Energy, Environment & Resources, is looking at ways to tackle damp.
Damp is a seemingly innocuous problem often found in homes across the UK but it’s something renters and homeowners have to battle against constantly. In fact, across the world, dampness accounts for between 70% and 80% of all reported building problems – covering both structural complications and related health issues. There is also a clearly established causality between moisture levels and asthma exacerbation which, in the UK, could cost the NHS an estimated £200 million per year. There are also links between poor building conditions and mental health problems.
However, little is known about excess moisture in buildings and what is known isn’t adequately communicated. This is something that Dr Hector Altamirano and his team (UCL Bartlett School of Energy, Environment and Resources and the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering) realised and is seeking to remedy. Hector has worked on the indoor environment of buildings across the world. His lab is uniquely designed to understand and measure the effect of moisture in buildings. It includes a rig that tests various materials, structures and walls and can simulate both an outdoor environment (including wind, rain, and varying temperatures) and indoor conditions (human breath, showering, central heating etc.) either side of the structure.
Hector is also the Academic Director of UCL’s UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB), which gathers partners from academia, industry, and the public. Together with his team at the UKCMB, Hector is bringing academia and industry closer together and making strides in the battle against damp.