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New Smart Sensors to Help Address Humidity Issues

By Maryland Today Staff

As part of the university’s recently launched MoistureWatch program, Facilities Management this month will enhance efforts to address concerns about moisture and humidity by replacing 50 manual sensors with “smart” sensors to collect a larger sample of data.

These smart models provide real-time monitoring of temperature and humidity, and alert Facilities Management personnel who are on call around the clock if humidity readings surpass 70%. Upon receiving a notification, a technician will inspect the area to begin assessing and addressing the issue.

The sensors are placed in targeted areas within select academic buildings that have challenging ventilation conditions. Some of the buildings have small, compartmentalized office spaces with limited air flow, while others have spaces that sit below grade level or have window air conditioning units.

Additional smart sensors will be installed in other locations as needed. The university has also set up an additional portal so that anyone can report air quality or mold concerns to Environmental Safety.

The university has been working for the past year to prevent outbreaks of mold after experiencing record rainfall last fall. Residential Facilities completed over 100 projects in 19 residence halls and 11 university-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses, and temporarily relocated hundreds of students living in Elkton Hall to hotels so mold remediation could take place. Humidity sensors were placed in Elkton and Bel Air halls as part of a pilot program to help proactively monitor temperature and humidity. Similarly, the sensors take humidity and temperature readings, and that data is transmitted wirelessly to Residential Facilities staff to monitor.

Facilities Management has spent $30,000 on new monitoring technology and the installation of the equipment; the expected annual upkeep cost is $84,000.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.