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      Hygrothermal Monitoring of Replacement Infill Panels for Historic Timber-Frame Buildings : Initial Findings

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            Energy retrofits aim to improve the thermal performance of buildings’ external envelopes. With buildings of traditional construction there exists the risk that these improvements may lead to interstitial condensation and moisture accumulation. For historic timber-framed buildings, this potentially exposes the embedded historic timbers to conditions favouring fungal decay and insect infestation. Hygrothermal digital simulations can assess this risk, however these have limitations, especially regarding the study of historic and traditional materials, due to a lack of accurate material data. The research presented in this paper therefore uses the monitoring of physical test panels to examine the performance of four different replacement infill details. These are, traditional wattle and daub, a composite of wood fibre and wood wool boards, expanded cork board, and hempcrete. The article focuses on the design and construction of the test cell and presents initial results from the first year of monitoring, following the initial drying phase. These showed no evidence of interstitial condensation in any of the panel build-ups, with increases in moisture content correlating directly with climatic measurements of wind-driven rain. Infill materials with low moisture permeability were seen to produce higher moisture contents at the interface with the external render due to the concentration of moisture at this point. Those panels finished in the more moisture permeable lime hemp plaster, overall present lower moisture contents, with reduced drying times. The use of perimeter, non-moisture permeable, sealants would appear to potentially trap moisture at the junction between infill and historic timber-frame. The monitoring work is ongoing.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            30 May 2022
            [1 ] Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University
            [2 ] Dept. Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath
            [3 ] Historic England
            [4 ] Formerly of Historic England
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 28 January 2022
            : 30 June 2022
            Historic England HE7585

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
            General materials science,Historic preservation,Architecture
            Moisture Content; Monitoring,Sustainability in architecture and the built environment,Energy Retrofit,Interstitial Hygrothermal Behaviour,Energy,Climate change and urban areas,Traditional Timber-Frame


            I am satisfied with the revised version uploaded by the authors and the paper can be accepted. However it needs a thourough reading as there are a number of typos and syntactical errors.

            2022-07-06 19:59 UTC

            Thank you very much Dina - noted.

            2022-07-06 20:34 UTC

            Date: 30 June 2022

            Handling Editor: Dr Yasemin D. Aktas

            Editorial decision: Accept. This revised article has been accepted following peer review and it is suitable for publication in UCL Open: Environment.

            2022-07-05 12:26 UTC

            Date: 31 May 2022

            Handling Editor: Dr Yasemin D. Aktas

            The article has been revised, this article remains a preprint article and peer-review has not been completed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2022-06-01 08:53 UTC

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