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    Review of 'Moisture Buffering and Mould Growth Characteristics of Naturally Ventilated Lime Plastered Houses.'

    Moisture Buffering and Mould Growth Characteristics of Naturally Ventilated Lime Plastered Houses.Crossref
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        Rated 3 of 5.
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    Moisture Buffering and Mould Growth Characteristics of Naturally Ventilated Lime Plastered Houses.

    Lime plaster is well known for its moisture buffering capabilities but is also susceptible to mould growth. This work focusses on the hygrothermal performance of lime plaster in naturally ventilated residential spaces. Surveys are carried out for 45 traditional buildings of Ahmedabad in India with measurements of ambient variables, such as temperature, relative humidity, wall moisture content, etc. Mould growth patterns of these spaces are related to the measured variables and wall characteristics. Hygrothermal simulations of some spaces are also carried out to observe the moisture buffering of lime plaster. Experimental observations are contrasted with simulation results to see if numerical predictions are realistic.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Environmental studies
      Lime plaster; Hygrothermal simulations; mould growth; surface relative humidity conditions.,Energy and health

      Review text

      An interesting study is presented that has combined modelling, lab experiments, and field work to better understand the relationship between lime plaster and mould. However, the report would benefit from a thorough proofread and some clarifications to improve readability. Providing further details on the method would help readers to better understand the input data used for analysis.


      There are several text errors and formatting issues. For example, the Figure 25 caption says “Marchq”, and on page 7 it is stated “The above figure shows …” but the figure it is referring to is below the sentence. On page 22, there is paragraph text between figure 30 and its caption.

      Language needs to be improved as some sentences do not make grammatical sense which makes understanding the author difficult. For example, the following sentence in Section 3.1 is not clear: "The materials binding, a room stores, and releases moisture.".

      Presentation could be improved by making language appear more consistent. For example, on page 7-8 the term relative humidity is sometimes capitalised seemingly at random.

      There are many statements where references should be added for support. For example, references are missing for the stated lifespan of lime mortar in Section 1, and for the claimed literary evidence regarding the composition of lime mortar in Section 1.1.

      Please could the aim of the study be clearly stated at the end of the Introduction.

      Please could differences between the original curve and derived curve in Figure 1 be clarified.

      Table 3-3-2 should specify the units of volume and how this was calculated i.e. from floor plans or measurements by experimenter.

      The model of the HOBO loggers should be specified in Section 3.3.

      Are the stabilised RHs from the salt solutions consistent with what is expected from literature? The values could be compared to another source e.g. Greenspan (1976).

      Please could the weather files used for simulation be specified.

      In Section 4.1.1, it is stated that “… there is no external source of the moisture other than occupancy”. The modelling method should describe what moisture production profile was used for the case study model. For occupancy, this would be the occupancy hours and rate per hour. Would including other moisture sources (e.g. cooking) be important?

      Please could you specify the number of spot measurements that were used in Section 4.2 to produce each figure (n=?).

      Please could you clarify Figure 28. The x-axis is moisture content and y-axis is frequency, and the caption states the walls were studied from December to March. However, the figure specifies "December to May" and "Monsoon months" in boxes for different moisture content ranges and it is unclear why.

      For Figure 30, it appears as though some room characteristics were assessed (i.e. ventilation, sunlight, clutter). How these were assessed should be mentioned in the methods section. For example, what is the difference between ‘High’ clutter and ‘Moderate’ clutter? For each room, is this an observation based on a single site visit or multiple site visits? Also, whilst ventilation openings may be closed, there will still be air exchange due to infiltration which could be substantial if the building is not airtight. Is the interest in purpose-provided ventilation or overall air exchange?

      Figure 31 is confusing. The "Mould observed" and "No Mold Observted" rings do not seem to correspond to the inner sections.

      The results section should be renamed as Results and Discussion, but I would recommend writing a separate Discussion section given the complexity of the topic.

      Were any statistical tests considered?


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