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Commissioning Buildings in Hot, Humid Climates: Design and Construction Guidelines

by J. David Odom and George DuBose of CH2M-HILL, in cooperation with Disney Development Company. Available from CH2M-HILL, 225 E. Robinson St., Ste. 505, Orlando, FL 32801; 407/423-0030, 407/839-5901 (fax), (e-mail). Spiral-bound, 100 pages, $70.

Going well beyond the specifics of building commissioning, this manual might have been titled “Avoiding Moisture Problems in Hot, Humid Climates” because that is its focus. In clear language and with useful graphics, Odom and DuBose outline the problems with mildew and microbial growth that can wreak havoc in buildings. Beginning with Chapter 1, Key Issues, they explain the physics of humidity, moisture transport, and condensation, and the areas in the U.S. where problems are most likely to occur.

Subsequent chapters cover the design and construction process, from schematics through final design, construction, and start-up, identifying the most common trouble spots for each stage and suggesting solutions. Throughout the book, the focus is on the importance of close cooperation between those designing the building envelope and the designers of the mechanical systems. It emphasizes the all-too-often overlooked basics of pressure relationships and moisture transport mechanisms. Our only complaint is that Odom and DuBose barely address the issue of energy efficiency and suggest both wasteful and efficient means of dealing with certain situations without making the differences clear. For example, both reheat systems and wrap-around coils are proposed for dealing with makeup air dehumidification, but there is no stated preference for the more energy-efficient coils.

Based on real-world experiences with Disney Development, these guidelines are practical and to the point. The authors claim to have helped Disney go from a rash of moisture problems in buildings during the 1980s, to successful completion of over $750 million in construction in hot, humid climates during the 1990s without any significant moisture or mildew problems. Just reading this book may not be enough to help other designers and developers make such a spectacular turnabout, but it is certainly a good start.

Published March 1, 2000

(2000, March 1). Commissioning Buildings in Hot, Humid Climates: Design and Construction Guidelines. Retrieved from

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