A long-standing issue for UK housing marketThe rapid adoption of IoT devices in UK housing is setting the beginning of a new era in dealing with the dampness and mold in buildings. Technology-enabled solutions such as environmental sensors that measure temperature, humidity, and CO2 are becoming increasingly common for dealing with these issues. Considering that the English Housing Survey (EHS) for 2021-22 identified 935,000 households in England alone grappling with severe damp problems, the advantages for residents are clear: improved living conditions and a safer indoor environment.
Rather than dealing with occupants' health problems and costly renovations down the line, landlords and real estate companies managing thousands of buildings are shifting toward a proactive approach to detecting and addressing potential problems before they become severe. Data from LoRaWAN hardware devices like the ones mentioned above are helping them to allocate resources strategically and save renovation and maintenance costs.
Assessing the severity of the damp and mold problems
Mold and dampness can cause serious health issues among the vulnerable segments of society — children and the elderly, who are still affected by it. Research indicates that mold exposure can worsen respiratory issues, trigger asthma, and potentially contribute to the development of dementia. In retrofitting older buildings, prioritizing indoor air quality becomes crucial for the occupants' well-being and therefore for property managers. Additionally, it's crucial not to overlook the psychological impact of residing in such environments. Studies have revealed a significant connection between living in damp, mould-infested conditions and mental health problems.
Government Recommendations to Improve Residential Safety
The UK has stringent regulations regarding indoor air quality and health and safety in residential properties. Due to some tragic events leading to the death of a 2 years old child that got a lot of publicity, the Housing Ombudsman in the UK highlighted good practices including the implementation of:
• Humidity and temperature sensors
• Specialist damp & mold teams
• Root cause analysis modelling
• Dedicated damp & mold dashboard
• Staff training
• Dedicated apps for reporting issues
These sensors would serve as an early warning system, flagging when a property is at risk of mold growth. Moreover, the Ombudsman emphasizes the importance of utilizing data collected by these sensors to facilitate predictive modelling. This approach could potentially enable housing providers to proactively identify properties at risk, preventing the onset of severe damp and mold issues.
Managing Tenant Satisfaction and Cost Efficiency in Real Estate
As a result of worries related to mold and dampness, the overall contentment of private home renters can decline to 64%, as indicated by EHS. Consequently, real estate companies are compelled to confront the challenges associated with these issues in their properties. Providing a comfortable and healthy living environment with IoT devices helps them retain tenants, reducing turnover and associated expenses. Taking action to mitigate mold and dampness in their early stages is considerably more cost-effective than conducting extensive remediation later. Humidity and temperature sensors not only help property managers save on repair and renovation expenses but also can aid in optimizing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems implementing energy-efficient HVAC settings, reducing energy consumption and operational costs.
In the battle against dampness and mold, sensors are becoming crucial. According to retrofit guidelines like PAS 2035, EESSH 2, and ORP in Wales, incorporating sensors is emphasized as a best practice to ensure that homes function as intended following any form of intervention, be it maintenance or retrofit measures. Sensors like the MClimate HT Sensor LoRaWAN and MClimate CO2 Display LoRaWAN strategically installed in common problem areas such as kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms can monitor key indicators that contribute to mold formation and effectively prevent it. The MClimate Enterprise buildings management platform can be used to create a digital twin of any building connecting all the MClimate LoRaWAN devices and make dashboards and rules for easy tracking of the data of the property. The regular analytics and reports generated in the platform help predicting the underlying root cause of mold and damp appearance, whether it’s lack of adequate ventilation or other contributing factors. The ability to control these devices remotely via the Enterprise platform also enables the configuration of notifications for instances where specific indicators surpass normal levels. Even minor leaks from old pipes could potentially lead to mold issues within the properties. To address this possibility the real estate managers can install the Flood Sensor LoRaWAN and T-Valve LoRaWAN to detect even the smallest leaks and promptly halt them, averting expensive damages.
The Crucial Role of Smart Sensors
In the battle against dampness and mold, sensors and building management platforms are now indispensable tools for the property managers.
The Next Era of Housing: Scalable IoT Solutions
The acceleration of the smart technology revolution is reshaping the potential of real estate in the UK. Property managers can now harness a range of IoT devices to effectively address mold and dampness issues, ensuring tenant satisfaction and retention, while also achieving cost savings and preventing property damages.