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Environmental Sustainability and Mold Hygiene in Buildings

1
Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China
2
Hong Kong Baptist University Sino-Forest Applied Research Centre for Pearl River Delta Environment (ARCPE), Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040681
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Hygiene)
Environmental sustainability is one of the key issues in building management. In Hong Kong, one of the initiatives is to reduce the operation hours of air-conditioning in buildings to cut down energy consumption. In this study, we reported a mold contamination case in a newly refurbished laboratory, in which the air-conditioner was switched from 24- to 18-h mode after refurbishment. In order to prevent mold recurrence, the air-conditioner was switched back to 24-h mode in the laboratory. During the mold investigation, visible mold patches in the laboratory were searched and then cultured, counted and identified. Building and environmental conditions were recorded, and used to deduce different causes of mold contamination. Eight contaminated sites including a wall, a bench, some metal and plastic surfaces and seven types of molds including two Cladosporium spp., two Aspergillus spp., one Rhizopus sp., one Trichoderma sp., and one Tritirachium sp. were identified. Cladosporium spp. were the most abundant and frequently found molds in the laboratory. The contaminated areas could have one to five different species on them. Based on the mold and environmental conditions, several scenarios causing the mold contamination were deduced, and different mold control measures were discussed to compare them with the current solution of using 24-h air-conditioning to control mold growth. This study highlights the importance of mold hygiene in sustainable building management. View Full-Text
Keywords: mold; hygiene; sustainability; built environments; air-conditioning mold; hygiene; sustainability; built environments; air-conditioning
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Wu, H.; Ng, T.W.; Wong, J.W.; Lai, K.M. Environmental Sustainability and Mold Hygiene in Buildings. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 681.

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