Unless your career is based in science or you deal with metal building ventilation daily, like us, chances are you haven’t put much thought into hygrothermal dynamics since high school physics. If you know Metallic Products, though, you know we’re big believers in the idea that having a general grasp of the tools and principles that impact your company’s operations is a good thing.
For that reason, we decided it was time to go back to basics as it relates to hygrothermal dynamics. Join us as we cover need-to-know info about the science itself — and discuss ways you can use it to make your steel buildings’ indoor environments healthier, protect your business and look out for your bottom line.
What is Hygrothermal Dynamics?
First things first: Let’s break down the phrase itself. Here, “hygro” refers to water, while “thermal” refers to heat. So, hygrothermal dynamics centers on the combination of moisture and heat — specifically how it moves through a building.
There are a few key principles that really drive the study of hygrothermal dynamics:
Why should these points matter to you?
Put simply, it’s impossible to manage a building’s temperature without also managing its moisture levels. And elevated humidity can have impacts far beyond simply making interiors uncomfortable. Left unchecked, it can lead to mold and mildew formation that aggravate allergies and create unhealthy environments. Not only that, but it can result in structural damage that costs you out of pocket.
So, by structuring your metal building’s ventilation system with hygrothermal dynamics in mind from the start, you can help ward of costly replacement work while creating a healthier overall working environment.
What Role Do Your Metal Building Accessories Play in Creating Healthy Structures?
As any builder knows, it takes countless systems, accessories and elements coming together in just the right way to ensure a successful metal building project. And, while your ventilation accessories are just part of that puzzle, they’re a pretty important part.
Each ventilation accessory is engineered to carry out a particular job — from the power vents controlled via thermostat, to the wind-powered turbine vents which help remove heat, fumes and stale air. The key is to have every element in its proper place, in proper working order.
Our go-to example involves the ridge vent that sits at your roof’s peak. As lower-pressure wind blows over your steel building’s ridge vent, higher-pressure air inside your building is ushered up and out. This is helped along by inlets such as strategically located wall louvers which allow the proper amount of air in to begin with.
When installed properly and adequately maintained, your metal building accessories should provide ventilation benefits for a long (long) time, with little to no additional work on your part.
Hygrothermal Dynamics Issues Metal Buildings Regularly Experience
No construction project (metal building or otherwise) ever goes exactly to plan, but we see countless issues come into play that could have been avoided, had companies put in a bit of forethought.
Failing to take airflow into consideration at the start of a build (something that happens more frequently than you might think the metal building world) can lead to uncomfortable — oftentimes unhealthy — indoor conditions. Here are a few common issues we regularly encounter in the field:
How can you ward off such issues and help keep your metal buildings on better footing overall? Enlist help from a trained and licensed ventilation professional when you start planning your structure out. They’ll be able to help guide your planning and design processes in a way that ensures a quality design and optimum airflow. (And it’s a lot less expensive and stressful than having to go back to fix mistakes after the fact.)
We hope this overview helped to shed a bit of light on the concept of hygrothermal dynamics, and provided tips to help you embark on your next metal building project better prepared. If you have questions about any of the above, or if you’re interested in learning how Metallic Products’ building accessories might benefit your next project, feel free to reach out to our team. We’re here, and we’re happy to help.