Humidity, Mold and College Dorms

We recently learned of some terrible news. A Maryland college student with a weakened immune system contracted the adenovirus which ultimately took her life.

The CDC states there’s no link between mold and the adenovirus. However, the victim’s parents believe mold conditions contributed to her death.

This prompted a conversation here at Telkonet about humidity, mold, and college dormitories.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, high indoor humidity can cause mold. And mold leads to a whole host of problems, big and small.

We wish we could shout it from the rooftops: humidity can be controlled with an energy management system! However, it’s estimated that only 5% of the nation’s student housing facilities actually use energy management systems.

We’re certainly not claiming that an EMS will prevent adenovirus. But an EMS can control humidity, even if the HVAC units don’t feature active dehumidification.

Here’s how it’s done. The humidity sensor within the smart thermostat determines the RH% is too high. The next time the dorm room is unoccupied, the HVAC will aggressively cool the room until the humidity reaches a satisfactory RH%.

Some systems can also dehumidify even when a room is occupied. The key is that comfort cooling takes precedence. The system can overcool in Low/Cool by a mere 1 or 2 degrees without an occupant likely noticing.

Extended Breaks

During extended breaks (particularly in summer), some universities turn off their HVACs entirely to save energy. We say don’t do it! Mold can run rampant.

With an EMS, the HVAC can remain on, and it will drive down humidity to acceptable levels and still save energy.

Humidity CAN be reduced and controlled. Mold CAN be avoided. It’s all possible.

We urge you to speak with an energy management company today. If you’d like to learn more about customizing a humidity solution that’s right for your facility, contact us. sales@telkonet.com or 888-703-9398.