Among individuals with allergies, an allergy to mold (or other environmental substances) happens to one in five people, notes the Cleveland Clinic. With health symptoms such as itchy eyes or skin can result in a typical allergic reaction for many, others may experience a more dangerous reaction to mold. For prospective homeowners looking to build their own home, preventing mold growth is essential to avoid both allergic reactions and property damage, though investing in a dehumidifier isn’t the only option. From understanding how mold thrives to how a variety of architectural features can aid in promoting ventilation — and where 3D rendering can prove to be useful in the process, here’s what you should know.
According to Healthline, mold is an organism that’s part of the fungi family. While there are different types of indoor molds, Healthline goes on to note that touching or inhaling mold spores can cause allergy-like symptoms, such as runny nose and congestion, eye irritation, coughing, and sore throat (to name just a few notable symptoms). In regard to the type of environment that mold thrives in, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture (such as around leaks, where there has been flooding, etc.), going on to explain that mold grows well on a variety of materials/surfaces — including in wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, wood products, to name just a few. Due to the potential health effects that the presence of mold can bring, removing it in a safe and proper way is essential, and is oftentimes best handled by a professional. That said, mold inspection, testing (which helps determine if a problem exists and are done at the end of a remediation to confirm that the job has been completed correctly), and removal/remediation are all steps that a professional will likely take in order to safely address mold growth in a home.
Successfully preventing mold growth can be done in a variety of ways, including the use of a dehumidifier and proactively ensuring that there are no leaks present. However, prospective homeowners looking to prevent mold growth can implement a few architectural features within the home’s structural design in order to promote proper ventilation (thus effectively preventing mold growth). Natural ventilation, according to one ArchDaily post written by Dima Stouhi, is defined as “the use of environmentally-friendly systems that do not require automated or mechanical solutions.” The post lists a few different types of natural ventilation worth knowing — including single-sided ventilation (the use of openings, like a window on one side of a building); cross-ventilation, which involves openings on either side of a structure, and stack ventilation, which features openings at lower and higher levels of a building. The chimney effect, on the other hand, is another type of natural ventilation commonly used in vertical buildings. This effect allows for cold air to produce pressure under the warm air, forcing it to rise upwards, the ArchDaily post explains.
Natural ventilation through architectural design can be achieved in various different ways, and visual aesthetics don’t have to be sacrificed, either. In one example, which is a project for the VY ANH House by Khuon Studio, features a louver system that “completely covers the facade,” while “air bricks arranged in irregular patterns” helps ensure ventilation as well as aesthetic emphasis. To further illuminate the uniqueness of the structure, it’s noted that the system acts as a trellis that will become covered with vines — a result that will allow for privacy and comfort based on cross-ventilation. In addition to understanding how a building can be structured to allow for better ventilation, there are additional ways that architectural design can further contribute to the cause. For example, in addition to positioning openings for ventilation, orienting doors and windows based on climate and site, which will allow you to get the most natural ventilation possible.
Due to the various complex aspects involved with properly designing a home that implements specific architectural details to promote ventilation, the use of 3D rendering software can prove to be an essential tool in the planning process. 3D rendering, for instance, will not only aid in bringing your ideas to life in a visual way, but will allow you to easily see the details of architectural choices and options, thus allowing you to experiment with different layouts and ideas within the software. As a result, you’ll not only be able to visualize a future home with ease, but you’ll be able to take the time in deciding what will work best for your project — not to mention save money in the long run by preventing miscalculations, too.
The use of 3D rendering software in the planning process will also allow you to avoid common mistakes when attempting to implement various design features. For example, while proper cladding and flashing details are paramount in keeping moisture out of roofs/walls, one Builder Online article lists several design flaws worth avoiding when looking to minimize moisture and promote proper ventilation, from water traps to the roof overhang. For example, the post explains that a water trap can be created by two sloping surfaces (a horizontal valley where two roof slopes meet), thus creating an opportunity for moisture issues. Similarly, little or no roof overhang can also lead to moisture problems by leaving water more likely to drip down the siding before working its way into the wall. According to Steve Easley, a partner in Chicago-based Building Media, a consultant and trainer, one Canadian study found that in 80% of homes with moisture in the walls, there was no roof overhang, highlighting the value in planning such details well in advance.
For those who are planning on building their own home, preventing mold growth is just one factor worth considering, and is something that can be addressed within the architectural design. By implementing aspects such as natural ventilation and using 3D rendering technology to plan the project, you’ll be able to bring your ideas to life with ease.