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    Review of 'Indoor air quality and early detection of mould growth in residential buildings: a case study'

    Indoor air quality and early detection of mould growth in residential buildings: a case studyCrossref
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    Indoor air quality and early detection of mould growth in residential buildings: a case study

    Mould growth affects 1 in 3 homes, and it is the biggest cause for complaints and litigations filed to the relevant authorities in Australia, while significantly affecting the physical and psychological health of the building occupants. Indoor mould is caused by excessive dampness, resulting from poor architectural specification, construction and maintenance practices, as well as inappropriate occupants’ behaviour. The consequences range from early biodeterioration of building materials, requiring anticipated renovation works, to deterioration of the indoor environment, posing a serious threat to the building occupants. This study investigates indoor air quality and mould growth, providing a snapshot of the current indoor air quality of Australian residential buildings regarding air pollutants. It uses a case study representative of the typical Australian suburban home to investigate the effects of unnoticed mould growth. Results of the monitoring campaign indicate that buildings with a high concentration of fungal spores are also more likely to present poor indoor air quality levels, high concentrations of particulate matters (PM 10 and PM 2.5 ) and CO 2 . This research suggests the need for the development of early detection strategies that could minimize the health hazard to people, thereby preventing the need for a major renovation.

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      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.

      Civil engineering,Architectural design
      mould growth,hygrothermal ,indoor air quality ,Energy and health,Sustainability in architecture and the built environment,sustainability,indoor environment,Sustainable and resilient cities,health

      Review text

      Thank you very much for your very interesting work. Please see below some comments and suggestions that could help clarifying a few things in the present manuscript.


      General remarks:

      2.2 Monitoring campaign

      Line 4-5 With the scope of identifying

      Line 5-7 Can you please provide more information about the sampling procedure?

      For the swab testing

      1st) Can you please provide the rationale behind the selection of these particular locations (kitchen bench, hallway cupboard and bedroom) for wiping i.e. where they potential fungal reserves, where they dusty indicating potential storage of fungal particles etc?

      2ND) what kind of swabs did you use i.e. premoistened or dry swab, solvent used etc.

      3rd) was there a specific protocol followed i.e. wiping 10cm2 of the surface under examination

      For the air sampling

      1st) Can you please provide details about the sampling protocol followed i.e. sampling duration, airflow velocity if a pump or other mechanical mean was used, how many litres of air were sampled per room

      2nd) Were the occupants allowed to carry out any activities prior to sampling i.e. vacuum, exercise, open the windows, etc? If not for how many hours were they not permitted to carry out any activities.

      3rd) Can you please give some specifications of the air sampling cassettes?

      For both swab and air sampling

      1st) What methods were used for the analysis of the samples?

      2nd) How do the surface and air sampling results complement each other?

      3.1 Site Inspections

      Could you please specify whether the fungal readings originate from?

      2nd Paragraph Line 6: I think there is a spelling mistake (raspatory or respiratory)

      2nd Paragraph Line 9-10: Could the elevated levels in the kitchen be associated to the fact that in kitchens the fungal readings might be capturing the existence of mould particles that originate from fruit, vegetables or food remnants that have infested by mould and have released spores or fungal particles over the previous days?

      Figure 2: Could you please change the line for TVOCs so that the line becomes clearer in the figure?

      Figure 3: Can you please delete the zero values for the 31/08 so that there are no vertical lines in the graph?

      The CO2 levels seem to be lower than the threshold values you reported. The peak values might be a result of larger occupancy density and since it has not risen above the threshold levels at any time wouldn’t that mean that the property is sufficiently ventilated?


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