Environmental sustainability and mold hygiene in buildings

Haoxiang WU, Tsz Wai Ng, Jonathan W C WONG, Ka Man LAI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Environmental sustainability is one of the key issues in building management. In Hong Kong, one of the initiatives is to reduce the operation hours of air-conditioning in buildings to cut down energy consumption. In this study, we reported a mold contamination case in a newly refurbished laboratory, in which the air-conditioner was switched from 24- to 18-h mode after refurbishment. In order to prevent mold recurrence, the air-conditioner was switched back to 24-h mode in the laboratory. During the mold investigation, visible mold patches in the laboratory were searched and then cultured, counted and identified. Building and environmental conditions were recorded, and used to deduce different causes of mold contamination. Eight contaminated sites including a wall, a bench, some metal and plastic surfaces and seven types of molds including two Cladosporium spp., two Aspergillus spp., one Rhizopus sp., one Trichoderma sp., and one Tritirachium sp. were identified. Cladosporium spp. were the most abundant and frequently found molds in the laboratory. The contaminated areas could have one to five different species on them. Based on the mold and environmental conditions, several scenarios causing the mold contamination were deduced, and different mold control measures were discussed to compare them with the current solution of using 24-h air-conditioning to control mold growth. This study highlights the importance of mold hygiene in sustainable building management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number681
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Air-conditioning
  • Built environments
  • Hygiene
  • Mold
  • Sustainability

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