Inspecting moisture damages in buildings with passive RFID sensors
Moisture damages and the health problems caused by them plague public buildings, in particular. The project tests whether it might be possible to recognise moisture damages early enough with the help of passive RFID sensors.
What kind of problem is the project trying to solve?
There is a growing need for fast observation and localisation of moisture damages. To solve the problem, digital recognition methods for moisture damage are required in buildings throughout their life cycles.
Moisture damages and the resulting mould and health problems have been a huge problem especially in public buildings in the last few years and decades. Buildings have to undergo repairs, schools are closed and demolished, children in day-care centres have to stay in temporary facilities and older people are sent away from care homes because of repeated renovations.
The most serious problem threatening the health of buildings is the moisture and mould collecting in their structures. The moisture in the structures is, however, difficult to detect in time because people only start to develop symptoms when the damage caused by the moisture has already spread widely.
The traditional measurement methods are cumbersome and expensive and their results are open to various interpretations, which means that the structures of the buildings have to the opened. What if it were possible to obtain moisture information directly from inside the structure at any time, even as early as the building stage?
Objective: to test passive RFID sensors in the detection of moisture damages
The objective of this experimental project is to test whether inexpensive passive RFID sensors are suitable for detecting moisture damage in buildings, particularly when the buildings are being used.
RFID means radio frequency identification. Passive RFID sensors do not have a source of energy of their own, but use an external source of energy when transmitting data. They do not contain a battery, but get the energy required from the reader in the same way as when a payment is made using a remote payment device in shops.
As raising public awareness of passive RFID moisture sensors is important, active dissemination of information is considered essential in the project.
What is done in this project?
A variety of sensors and readers are tested in the project. In the project planning stage, Smartrac, a supplier of sensors, and NordicID, a supplier of readers, committed themselves to partnering the project. Once the project had been launched, a survey of the operators in the sector was carried out and M&E Management/InviSense, Vigilan and Siltanet, all of which have a sensor and reader of their own, joined the project. The project participants include the suppliers of all the passive RFID moisture sensors available in Finland.
The sensors are tested in two genuine use environments: a single-family house and Metropolia's Myyrmäki campus, currently under construction. The single-family house is a 1 1/2-storey wooden house from 1955 in Kellokoski, Tuusula.
The data collected in the project are made available via a cloud service, which increases the opportunities for utilising the information and enables conducting a later data analysis on an artificial intelligence basis. The project also includes testing the usability of drones in reading the moisture sensors, particularly inside buildings.
Developers, contractors, construction engineers and citizens who use public buildings.