Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Increasing the indoor humidity levels in buildings with ventilation systems: Simulation aided design in case of passive houses


indoor humidity level, ventilation rate, buffering material, simulation


In modern societies, people spend about 90 percent of their time inside buildings. The challenge of building physics is to ensure that buildings are planned, constructed and built to provide a comfortable and healthy working and living environment. As construction style has changed during recent years, the planning phase has to be much more precise and the need of simulation programs that respond to every little change arises. An increasing problem in Austria is the indoor humidity. In the field of renovated buildings with airtight new building envelopes, mould growth due to high indoor relative humidity (RH) is a persistent problem. On the other hand, in recently realized Austrian passive houses with an air treatment system, the low humidity level of the indoor air is a problem with which scientists have been struggling for some time. It has been observed in numerous measurements and it is also easily computationally detectable that in winter period the indoor relative humidity level often drops below 30% RH. Low and high relative humidity levels have negative effects on the comfort feeling and health of the occupants of the dwelling and should therefore be avoided. However, it is expensive to increase or decrease the humidity in houses mechanically. Therefore, the existing room moisture should be used sensibly in buildings with a ventilation system. In buildings with a high indoor humidity it is necessary to adjust the ventilation depended on moisture production. This paper focuses on low indoor humidity and presents some different methods by which the indoor relative humidity can be regulated. The effects of adapting parameters such as ventilation rate and buffering material in the dwelling were clearly reflected in the measured temperature and relative humidity. “BuildOpt_VIE” software developed at the Vienna University of Technology was used for the dynamic building simulation in this study.


Tsinghua University Press