Hygrothermal assessment of north-facing, cold attic spaces under the eaves with varying structural roof scenarios

Nickolaj Feldt Jensen*, Søren Peter Bjarløv, Christopher Just Johnston, Casper Fabian Hillestrøm Pold, Morten Hjorslev Hansen, Ruut Hannele Peuhkuri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The objective of this study was to test whether compliance with the current Danish best practice recommendations concerning design of the cold attic space will prevent damaging moisture levels. The project was performed as a full-scale experimental setup in the cool temperate climate of Denmark. The setup comprised 18 north-facing attic spaces with varying ventilation principles and varying infiltration scenarios. The relative humidity and temperature were measured in attic spaces, indoor and outdoor, for almost 3 years. The hygrothermal performance of the attics was evaluated by post-processing and comparing the data with predicted mould growth risk and with visual observations of mould growth. The results showed that following the recommended passive ventilation strategies made the hygrothermal performance in attics with diffusion-open roofing underlay worse. In addition, increasing vapour diffusion tightness of the roofing underlay made the hygrothermal performance of the cold attic spaces under the eaves worse, except for attics with passive ventilation but without infiltration. The hygrothermal performance of the attics with diffusion-tight roofing underlay was poor when combining infiltration and the assessed ventilation strategy. The performance of the same attic without infiltration showed that some degree of ventilation was needed. External roof insulation did not significantly improve the hygrothermal performance of the attic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Building Physics
Volume44
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-36
ISSN1744-2591
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Cold attics
  • Ventilation
  • Diffusion-open roofing underlay
  • Insulated roofing underlay
  • Hygrothermal performance
  • Mould growth

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