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[Cob] Coblist Digest, Vol 6, Issue 180

Joyce Coppinger jc10508 at
Wed Dec 31 09:00:18 CST 2008

If you are worried about the mold issues in any building materials or
methods, look beyond the material to the real reason for the problem - too
much moisture building up within the structure.

If you understand natural ventilation and venting systems to remove excess
humidity and moisture from a building and incorporate these into your plan,
you will eliminate most of the concern. Venting systems don't have to be
mechanical. They can be as simple as placing an operable transom window
above windows and doors; or adding a cupola to the roof to help draw
hot/moist air out of the building; or reducing interior walls and hallways
so that air flows freely around the building or placing windows in rooms so
that good cross ventilation happens.

You read about bale walls breathing...which they do to some extent, but all
buildings should breathe meaning that there needs to be a good intake of
outdoor air (which is usually better quality air than indoor air, as indoor
air is contaminated with toxics from all those products and materials we use
and live with that are created with chemicals and other toxins) and an
equally good, if not better, exhaust of indoor air.

A building should be tight - meaning well insulated with few leaks to
increase energy efficiency. However, buildings can be sealed too tightly in
the name of energy efficiency and what is really happens is the building
being too tight causes moisture and humidity to build up inside and create
mold and other air quality problems.

A building is not just the material used for the walls or for insulation. It
is a system in which all of the pieces and parts need to work well together
to have a livable and sustainable space.

Joyce Coppinger
Managing Editor/The Last Straw Journal
PO Box 22706, Lincoln NE 68542-2706
402.483.5135, fax 402.483.5161
<thelaststraw at>

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