Water Damage

Green Home Design for Moisture Control: Prevent Water Damage with Sustainable Home Design Ideas

Michelle Tether
Written by Michelle Tether

Congratulations and thank you for arriving at this page and taking the first steps in saving the environment we live in. Green home design involves much more than using recycled building materials and integrating energy efficient design into a home; it also involves creating a safe and healthy indoor environment, constructed of materials that will last. One of the most basic ways to do this is to prevent water damage, thereby preventing the byproducts of water damage, such as mould and rotting wood.

The Importance of Moisture Control for Sustainable Home Design

Allowing moisture in the house, whether through condensation on surfaces, water leaks, or rainwater, can potentially lead to both health problems and a deterioration of the actual house. Green home design should not overlook important issues that affect the long-term well-being of the inhabitants and the house itself. Just take a look at this image that shows just how water can damage plaster and paintwork. It’s also terrible for our health as well.

Water damage

Water damage causing damage to property and health by Janine Copeland.

Mould is one of the most dangerous results of water damage. Mould can form in the walls, in the ceiling, anywhere that a surface is exposed to moisture or humidity for long periods of time. Both mould spores, and toxic chemicals given off by some moulds to destroy competing microorganisms, contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems.

Failing to prevent water damage can also contribute to the deterioration of the house. Too much moisture can cause wood rot. It can also lower insulation performance; leading to higher energy costs, completely contradicting one of the main purposes of sustainable home design. If you have window sills, wooden features, or any timber externally, you should inspect your woodwork thoroughly. Make sure you pay close attention to your sash window decoration. It’ll be almost the first signs of decay in most instances. If you do discover considerable issues then take a look at my guide on how to find a good contractor. It’s pretty conclusive and is going to save you trouble at some point.

Indoor Green Home Design Issues to Prevent Water Damage

There are many ways to prevent water damage. They may cost money and time in the beginning, but like other green home design decisions, they are well worth the expense in the long run. The simplest step for moisture control, and possibly the most effective one, is to watch out for plumbing leaks. If one is suspected or possible, immediately have it checked out to prevent further water damage. If you have Hydronic radiant floors(underfloor heating using water) then make sure this is installed properly. This is very important because of the number of reports on leaking.

Eco underfloor heating

Eco underfloor heating – the problem is the pipes can leak and that will wreck a hardwood floor in no time.

Another useful move to prevent water damage is to have a fan installed in the bathroom as well as above the stove in the kitchen, and then use them. Moisture forms on glass and counter top surfaces for every bath or shower taken, every pot of boiling water, and every load of dishes washed. Fans can neutralise the negative effects of indoor water and humidity.

Investing in high performance windows is also an integral factor in sustainable home design. High performance windows are better than standard windows for preventing condensation on the interior surfaces. They are also much more equipped to block air flow, which can lead to indoor moisture, as well as the loss of heated or air conditioned air. There is now a new smart glass solar solution which can be seen below.

Smart Energy Solutions by Diamond Certified

Smart Energy Solutions by Diamond Certified

For more humid climates, insulating cold-water pipes and toilet tanks is a wise green home design choice to prevent water damage. Warm-weather humid air combined with cold metal pipes leads to more indoor condensation.

Structural Green Home Design Issues to Prevent Water Damage

How a green home is built can greatly reduce moisture by protecting the home from rainwater and outside moisture. The quality of the roof is essential to prevent rainwater from entering the house, and possibly becoming trapped within ceiling cavities and walls. Make sure there are no holes or potential pitfalls in the roof and that the flashing details are placed correctly. Also, adding a roof overhang will help to prevent water damage by forcing rainwater to fall a few inches away from the house, rather than directly onto the exterior. So in short, make sure you design a roof that’ll hang past your brickwork and stop driving rain penetrating. Here’s a wonderfully designed roof to solve this.

Well designed roof stops driving rain

Well designed roof stops driving rain well.

When building a green home, if possible, slope the ground around the house to encourage rainwater to flow away from the home and the foundation. Proper drainage around the exterior is also vital for green home design.

The use of a vapour retarder is also essential for preventing water damage. A vapour retarder will slow the movement of water vapour through permeable surfaces. Either a layer of polyethylene or a vapour retarder paint applied onto walls and other surfaces will help control moisture, although whether to apply to the interior or exterior of walls depends on the climate. In general, in cold climates, it should be on the interior, for warm and humid climates, on the exterior.

Sustainable, healthy living is the result of the diligence and care of proper sustainable home design, it’s even something that you can get your kids involved in as well as leading your children to environmental awareness. These design tips can greatly increase the durability and quality of a home. If you’ve enjoyed my home building green tips, why not take a look at my general green living tips to help the environment.

About the author

Michelle Tether

Michelle Tether

I love everything home. I write as a passion for non profit about the things I love.