News & Events

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.

Moisture and Breathability: healthy buildings seminar in Bristol

Share this Post:

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

A joint event with The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and supported by STBA, SPAB and ISIBIO.


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 ever more air tight buildings are built and existing ones refurbished, 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.


Consideration of product impacts should be an essential component for sustainable and healthy buildings and NOT an afterthought. With staff costs amounting to 90% of most office based business operating costs and because we spend so much time indoors, it is essential that the industry delivers healthy buildings. This is especially important for vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly; so buildings such as schools, housing and medical centres.


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 highlighted by Peter Rickaby at STBA/SPAB conference 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 retro-fit may prevent the passage of moisture through the building. However the concept of breathability and moisture control is poorly understood. This seminar brings together leading practioners, academics and suppliers to share their knowledge and learning. There will be drinks from 17:00 onwards.




13:30:  Registration


14.00:  Chair’s introduction


14.05:  Speaker TBC


14.25:  Dr Callum Hill, ISOBIO and JCH Industrial Ecology Ltd; Breathability – Back to basics

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

The benefits of natural fibre insulation

Moisture and natural fibre insulation

Hygroscopicity is not the same as breathable


15.05: Caroline Rye - The SPAB Building Performance Survey

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: 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: Ian Mawditt, Four Walls

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

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 networking drinks


Please register here.

Source Language: