High indoor relative humidity level increases the risk of substantial growth of harmful fungal species

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, August 2019, Volume 2, #72

In the tropical environment, the need to reduce the amount of energy required to control indoor temperature and relative humidity (RH) to a comfortable and acceptable level is a major challenge. The recommended indoor temperature for the tropical environment is 23 to 25 degree Celcius for typical ceiling air supply while recommended RH is 65 to 70%. Poor dehumidification resulting in RH greater than the recommended level is of particular concern because it will increase dampness of the indoor environment. In addition to the higher emission of volatile organic compounds, it will increase the growth of biological pollutants like fungi species. Examples of such fungi species are Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium.

The significant rise in the amount of the fungal species, the higher the risk of indoor occupants, especially those with a history of respiratory problem like asthma, suffering from adverse health problem and discomfort. Those with no history of the respiratory problem could also develop one when they are exposed to a significant amount of the fungal species for a considerable period. The ability to work well in such polluted indoor environment will also be compromised.

There is a need for continuous development of innovative strategies that will help reduce the energy required to achieve comfortable and acceptable indoor temperature and RH level without compromising indoor air quality and human health and comfort.

72. Relative humidity_72

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Andersen and Korsgaard (1986) and Sharpe et al. (2015) papers.

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