Moisture and breathability – The key to building performance and healthy buildings

Date:    Time: 14:00 - 17:00   Location:

Join the ASBP and The Green Register as expert speakers discuss the topics of breathability and moisture control, and highlight their importance in creating healthy buildings that perform as designed. This seminar brings together leading practitioners, academics and suppliers to share their knowledge and learning.

Buildings should be considered not as standalone discrete entities, but as part of a system in constant and dynamic interaction with people and the environment. This interconnectedness means benefits, problems, solutions and consequences cannot be effectively addressed in isolation. As we build ever more air tight buildings and refurbish existing ones, often with energy efficiency as the main driver, the case for delivering effective moisture control becomes ever more paramount. This must be alongside good detailing, quality installation and an effective ventilation strategy.

Moisture build up is not just a risk to the building’s structure, it reduces thermal performance of the building fabric and can lead to mould growth and subsequent allergic reactions. In the UK, approximately 33% of adults and 50% of children are affected by one or more allergic disorders. Nearly £1billion a year is spent on prescriptions by the NHS to treat allergy symptoms and there has been a substantial 615% increase in hospital admissions related to allergic diseases, during the last 20 years.

The task of retrofitting our entire building stock to enable zero carbon buildings by 2050 is a daunting one, which requires an estimated 781,250 homes to be refurbished every year – or 1.5 homes a minute. There is emerging evidence, as highlighted by Peter Rickaby at the STBA/SPAB Conference on June 13th 2017, that some homes that have been retrofitted to such a poor standard, that they have been wrecked. Most buildings built roughly before the first half of last century are vapour open and inappropriate materials applied in a retrofit may prevent the passage of moisture through the building. However the concept of breathability and moisture control is poorly understood.”


14.00 Chair’s introduction: Gary Newman, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products

14.05 Simon Corbey, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (Download presentation)

  • What is a healthy building?

14.10 Nigel Griffiths, Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (Download presentation)

  • Update on STBA guidance wheel.

14.25 Dr Callum Hill, ISOBIO and University of Bath; Breathability – Back to basics  (Download presentation)

  • Breathability ; what is it, why is it important and how do we enable it?
  • Vapour open is not the same as breathable.
  • Air tightness and breathability are complimentary strategies (not mutually exclusive).

14.45 Mark Lynn, Thermafleece (Download presentation)

  • The benefits of natural fibre insulation
  • Moisture and natural fibre insulation
  • Hygroscopicity is not the same as breathable

15.05 Caroline Rye, SPAB – The SPAB Building Performance Survey (Download presentation)

  • An overview of the SPAB Building Performance Survey, commenced in 2011, measuring moisture movement through solid walls.
  • What we measured and the tools
  • Results and next steps

15.25 – 15.40 Refreshment break

15.40 Chris Brookman, Back to Earth

  • The range of natural fibre products available
  • Woodfibre and moisture
  • Other health and wellbeing benefits – VOCs and overheating

16.00 Andy McGrath, BSRIA (Download presentation)

  • The importance of source control and good ventilation
  • An overview of research into ventilation rates
  • Air-tightness, moisture and appropriate ventilation strategies

16.20  Leigh George, Allergy UK (Download presentation)

  • An overview of allergic disorders In the UK
  • A summary of the 800 calls a month to the Allergy UK helpline
  • Allergy UK Approved Products

16.40 Discussion and next steps

17.00 Close and drinks


Fees: ASBP, The Green Register, STBA and SPAB members – £65; Non-Members – £99


Book now via The Green Register.

This event is supported by STBA, ISOBIO and SPAB.

Share this:

Join our mailing list

Keep up to date with the latest ASBP news, events and resources


Scroll to Top