How to Extend the Service Life of School Buildings by Improving Their Indoor Climate Conditions?

  • Antti Knuuti
  • Jarmo Laamanen
  • Timo KauppinenEmail author
  • Ilkka Räinä
  • Markku Hienonen
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Energy book series (SPE)


Mold- and moisture problems have damaged and prevented the use of many buildings in Finland; typically, the problems have existed in school buildings, but also in other public buildings like health centers and day care buildings. Even relatively young buildings have had those problems. The reasons are caused roughly by three factors: design errors and deficiencies during construction and use. The learning environment has deteriorated. Both pupils and teachers have had various symptoms, in some cases they have been unable to use the building anymore. The situation has led mostly to a continuous repair cycle—the indoor environment and conditions have not always reached the satisfactory level. In this presentation, firstly, the reasons and solutions for indoor air problems in different cities are introduced, and then is described, how the service life of two school buildings has been extended. The existing problems are described and what measures are needed to carry out that the indoor environment would reach a safe and healthy level. In both cases the recent condition and situation are analyzed, and then reported some realized renovation works based on monitoring and measurements, which are briefly described. After modifications and repairs the buildings have been monitored during 2 years. The aim was to keep both buildings in use during a limited time period. The use of the other school building was discontinued and the other school will change the use. In both cases the community authorities decided to try to extend the service life instead of a new school building. Massive and deep renovation operations were excluded because of the high costs; there should be a way to find how to have more time for planning and financing new schools without using temporary spaces or substitute premises. The other building was overpressurized after repairs, which is not normally used; in other building targeted repairs were done. In this presentation, the research and monitoring program, starting point, renovation measures and monitoring results are presented. Special attention has been paid to ventilation systems and also to the typical reasons for indoor problems—very often one cannot name just one factor, but the performance is depending on more than one factor. The performance of a building depends on how well the building systems are integrated to operate together—envelope, heating, ventilation and automation systems—and also performance depends on the use, users and weather conditions.


Buildings in operation Renovation of buildings Indoor environment and health Moisture safety and water damage 



This presentation is based on the information and support provided by representatives of cities Äänekoski, Iisalmi and Oulu, Finland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti Knuuti
    • 1
  • Jarmo Laamanen
    • 1
  • Timo Kauppinen
    • 2
  • Ilkka Räinä
    • 3
  • Markku Hienonen
    • 3
  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland LtdVTTFinland
  2. 2.Tmi MutsalOuluFinland
  3. 3.Building Supervision of OuluOuluFinland

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