Hygrothermal Documentation of Vanishing Structures

February 8, 2017
Event: APT/NPS Documentation Technologies Workshop
Speaker(s): Christopher Decareau

One way historic structures vanish is through the degradation of materials from heat, air and moisture attack. Whether your historic structure is abandoned, currently occupied or in planning stages of adaptive reuse, hygrothermal analysis should be part of your mix of historic structure documentation. Hygrothermal analyses are used to predict the reaction of historic building materials to exterior and interior environments. A solely computer analysis, the programs rely on the accuracy of its building material inputs and availability of standard local weather files. The algorithms behind the analyses are validated and accurately predict moisture and thermal levels in building materials, including potential hidden condensation. The speaker will present case studies of two California historic structures where the programs were used to understand current, and predict future, envelope performance. An issue that will be addressed is characterizing inputs for archaic materials, particularly masonry and wood. Another issue addressed will be using weather files updated for global climate change to future‐proof historic structures.

Keywords: Historic Masonry Wood