Moisture buffering phenomenon and its impact on building energy consumption

Mingjie Zhang, Menghao Qin, Carsten Rode, Zhi Chen

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Moisture buffering is the ability of surface materials in the indoor environment to moderate the indoor humidity variations through adsorption or desorption. Materials with high moisture buffering capacity could be used to passively control the indoor moisture condition and consequently improve the indoor environmental quality and reduce the latent heat load of buildings. In order to characterize the moisture buffering ability of materials, the basic concept of moisture buffer value (MBV) is adopted. The paper first proposes a new mathematical expression of basic MBV, and then introduces a theoretical correction factor that could be used together with the MBV to calculate the moisture uptake/release by hygroscopic materials exposed to different types of humidity variations. Secondly, a simplified two-bottle test method is proposed to measure the MBV in the present study. The impact of moisture buffering on building energy consumption in different climate conditions is assessed by using numerical simulations. The results show that the potential energy saving rate could be up to 25–30% when using proper hygroscopic materials in the test building in temperate climates and semi-arid climates. Finally, the relationship between MBV and potential energy saving rate is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Moisture buffer effect
  • Hygroscopic material
  • Test method
  • Indorr humidity condition
  • Building energy conservation


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