Marcela Brauner

Holistic Building Services

Decisive use of building materials based on hygrothermal analysis

Sustainable buildings, planning and construction processes in the 21st century require an interdisciplinary approach in which the use of materials and products is based on a complex decision-making procedure. Every building has an immense impact on the environment over its life span. This study shows that even small changes in material specification can have a significant influence on indoor air quality and the whole ecosystem. This paper represents the second part of a research study presented by the CESB16 conference. An experimental and numerical study on real houses delivers new data which demonstrate the importance of material determination during the design process. Four different scenarios have been tested in two houses while introducing water vapour into a room to simulate occupancy. Indoor relative humidity, temperature and absolute humidity in the same room (size, position in the house, orientation) have been monitored while introducing various materials with divergent moisture-buffering capacity. This research is based on real measurements, assessment of the data and comparison with the hygrothermal performance of the original construction. The study also used a hygrothermal simulation to demonstrate the possibility of early material assessment and allowance for the targeted specification of building materials. The information it provides on how to efficiently use the hygrothermal qualities of materials in a build environment contributes to the goal of designing and constructing sustainable buildings.

About Brauner: 
Brauner is a professional with distinct interdisciplinary skills and knowledge combined with practical experience in all stages of the building process. She is a construction consultant, architectural designer, and certified building biologist from The Institute of Building Biology + Sustainability IBN (Institut für Baubiologie + Nachhaltigkeit) in Germany. As the founder and managing director of Holistic Building Services Ltd, Brauner provides consultation in building physics, especially in the field of hygrothermal performance and materials. Creating a healthy living space by using natural and sustainable materials is her passion. This is demonstrated in her design and project management of the Pro Clima HUB training centre in Auckland. Brauner is in her last year of PhD study at the School of Engineering, Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Her research focus is on sustainability, hygrothermal analysis, simulations, and BIM systems.