The institute for Health in the Built Environment is teaming up with the Oregon State University’s College of Forestry to research the impact of different wood species, coatings used, and relative humidity on the resulting microbial communities from mass timber products.
The properties of interior surfaces and their impact on indoor air are important factors to consider affecting the longevity of hazardous bacteria, fungi and viruses in buildings and overall human immune system health. Wood is a porous, natural material that can foster microbes on its surfaces. Many of these are structurally non-destructive and potentially beneficial to occupants which together shape the building’s microbiome to have a non-visual impact on the wellness of occupants. However, building surfaces are potentially also repositories for human-associated microbes, some of which could cause illness. This research will investigate the impacts of mass timber coatings and humidity on the composition of mass timber surface microflora to determine if all of different species of wood are beneficial to environmental and human health.