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ethant | Posted in General Questions on

I attended a series of exceptional lectures by the German Architect Kay Künzel a few years back associated with Passive House Hudson Valley.

He had the perfect level of German arrogance or dismissiveness that really made me wonder why the things he was discussing aren’t more common in my neck of the woods.

One of the things he discussed was setting up building monitoring sensors (temperature, moisture, etc) during construction and tying them back to a computer for long term monitoring of the building. In the example he gave it was a retrofit of a home – I believe his personal residence.

Because his website is in German, I have not been able to figure out if there is further information. I have read about energy use monitoring here on GBA and elsewhere. I am hoping that my upcoming build can be useful educationally, or for research.

I also think building monitoring is very helpful for me to learn and potentially address problems that may arise. However, I don’t really know where to start – perhaps there is a sort of kit tied to a particular building monitoring software package (wishful thinking!). Or is this something that has been pieced together from various parts in the past?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Building scientists have extensive experience with monitoring equipment and software. If you read technical papers published by building scientists, you will often glean useful information on the type of sensors they use.

    That said, there are many pitfalls you'll have to avoid, especially when it comes to measuring the moisture content of sheathing. It's easy to jump to false conclusions because of misunderstandings about condensation, adsorption, and moisture content readings.

    My go-to expert on monitoring equipment is Kohta Ueno at Building Science Corporation. Kohta has lots of field experience.

    One place to start your research (other than reviews of the technical literature) is by visiting the web site of Onset, the manufacturer of Hobo sensors and monitors. They have lots of useful information (and equipment for sale).

  2. jberks | | #2

    I'm very interested in home performance monitoring. and while the home I'm building is currently open, now would be a good time to set up moisture monitors in the roof & walls, air quality, or even water level sensors for the groundwater and sump pit.

    I've been looking for something like this, but most studies use more scientific systems that are way too complicated.

    I've been considering finding a techie to build an arduino Based system for me that data logs to a spreadsheet. the components cheap and simple.

    Martin, thanks for mentioning the hobo system. I'm curious to see what kind of costs a simple system would be.

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