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A'warming' sign to the nation's stately homes

A new ‘Climate Hazard’ interactive map published by the National Trust has compounded Aggreko’s concerns for construction companies, contractors, conservationists, and all those involved in historical preservation over growing humidity in the UK and potential damage to listed buildings.

Aggreko’s earlier report The Hidden Cost of Humidity on Site outlines the effects of humidity and improper moisture management on historic buildings as well as new build properties, and echoes the worries recently raised by the National Trust.

The map highlights potential areas affected, with claims that extreme heat and flooding could rise from 5% to 17% before 2060. If the worst of the Nationals Trust’s concerns were to be realised, one third of listed sites could experience temperatures of over 30°C for 15 days or more a year.

With over 400,000 listed properties in the UK, the risk of severe damage to some of the nation’s most beloved landmarks is tangible. Wood and timber are key structural aspects to many heritage properties, and are particularly susceptible to warping in periods of high humidity. Similarly, increased levels of moisture in the air can lead to significant fractures in historic brickwork.

Moisture management on period properties can often lead to more harm than good if the correct procedures are not adhered to strictly. Companies such as Aggreko offer rental services for the entire range of equipment needed to deal with humidity safely and effectively.

Ryan Stanley, Aggreko’s Moisture Control Sales & Product Manager explains: “The thermal response to historic buildings can really vary depending on previous upkeep that has been undertaken. With this in mind, humidity could enter the building with ease through the fabric of the build and this can cause detrimental effects on all materials within. Adding temperature control can ease the issues being faced, however, adding too much heat could have the reverse affect. This could aid in the degrading of materials that have moisture within or surrounding. Controlling the humidity levels rather than the temperature can prevent accelerated degrading of any materials by protecting against any reaction with molecules within materials and prevent damage.

“With such high stakes, and the potential for damage bills spanning into the millions, ensuring every construction process is carried out with caution is essential to heritage site managers.”

 

10 March 2021

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