Photo in the header: Urbanscape® and thin soil layer with a variety of native and exotic shrubs were installed in Park Sydney Village, Sydney, Australia.
Our living conditions can be adversely impacted by freezing winters, extreme summers, noise pollution and poor urban air quality. That is why Knauf Insulation SOLUTIONS should be at the heart of any healthy home.
Knauf Insulation’s business model is based on creating better buildings for people.
That means buildings that keep people warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot. That means creating healthy interior environments in which people can thrive.
In the words of Domen Ivanšek, Knauf Insulation’s Head of Building Science: “We spend up to 90% of our time indoors, so if we are forced to endure an interior building environment that is cold, noisy, damp or has poor air quality it will impact our well-being and health. The cornerstone of any healthy home is good insulation.”
So, how does Knauf Insulation help? Here are four ways:
COMFORT IN THE COLD
The war in Ukraine, energy price spikes, inflation and concerns over winter energy supplies have again put fuel poverty in the spotlight, particularly in Europe.
According to European research organisation Eurostat, 7.4% of people in the European Union were unable to keep their home adequately warm due to the condition of their building, external temperatures and the cost of energy.
The impact on health is considerable. For example, the British charity Age UK says that a third of deaths during the winter of 2017-18 were as a result of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and, at the “root of this problem are poorly insulated homes”.
Knauf Insulation has consistently campaigned for better buildings for those who struggle to keep warm in winter and our Mineral Wool solutions are designed to meet all building requirements.
In an uninsulated house up to 60% of heat can be lost through external walls, doors and windows and up to 30% through roofs.
To achieve the most stable indoor temperatures, a combination of sufficiently thick external thermal insulation with heavy-weight building materials on the inside will ensure high thermal comfort for occupants during all seasons.
HEALTH AND HEATWAVES
More than 400 weather stations around the world exceeded heat records in 2021 — marking the eighth hottest year on record — while during June and July 2022 a total of 188 all-time heat records were broken.
As mentioned by Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, World Health Organisation Regional Director for Europe, in their statement, “over the past decades, hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of extreme heat during extended heatwaves... This year, we have already witnessed more than 1,700 needless deaths in the present heatwave in Spain and Portugal alone.”
During high-temperature summers, buildings with comfortable interiors are essential if the occupants are suffering from respiratory or cardiac diseases or are very young or elderly.
Insulation can help. Mineral Wool is highly effective at blocking the path of heat which means in summer it acts as a barrier to external heat keeping interiors cooler.
“This passive measure, together with appropriate active sun-shading of windows and night cross-ventilation of rooms ensures the comfort of building users when the external heat is excessive,” says Domen.
Installing vegetation on building’s external envelope, such as Knauf Insulation’s Urbanscape Green Roof and Wall systems, can also help to keep external building surfaces cooler.
CONTRIBUTION TO AIR QUALITY
“Insulation combined with good ventilation contributes to air quality by creating dry, warm homes with no cold spots where mould can grow,” says Domen.
“In buildings where there may be vulnerable occupants, such as kindergartens, care homes for the elderly or hospitals, the installation of Knauf Insulation solutions combined with good air ventilation can really help.”
Knauf Insulation solutions with ECOSE Technology® are certified to the highest Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold standard which is regarded as Europe’s most comprehensive label for verifying low product emissions of VOCs.
In addition, Knauf Insulation’s Urbanscape green roofs and walls can help absorb air pollutants which are particularly prevalent in urban areas with high levels of traffic or smog.
The World Health Organisation has reported that in an air survey of air quality in 1,600 cities in 91 countries, half of the monitored residents were exposed to air pollution that was 2.5 times higher than recommended levels.
Research has found that 0.2g of airborne particles can be captured by one square metre of green roof every year while researchers in Singapore found that the level of particles above a 4,000 m2 green roof were reduced by 6%.
Noise pollution disrupts sleep, disturbs concentration and causes irritation with a least one in five people in Europe exposed to external noise levels that are harmful to health, says the European Environment Agency.
Traffic is the top source of noise pollution followed by rail, aircraft and industry. The result? The EEA found that 22 million Europeans suffered chronic ‘high annoyance’ ranging from irritation to distress with 6.5 million enduring significant sleep disturbance which triggers stress or cardiovascular issues.
Internal noise can be equally challenging whether it is the sound of DIY next door and high-volume entertainment systems or noisy neighbours and clanking air-conditioning.
Maro Puljizević, our Acoustic Project Manager at the company’s Core Research and Development Department, says: “The solution to noise pollution is the installation of Mineral Wool insulation.
“Our Rock Mineral Wool and our Glass Mineral Wool both significantly contribute to the dampening of sound thanks to their high-level, noise-blocking fibre structure.
“At Knauf Insulation we can enhance the acoustic performance of this Mineral Wool by combining it with Knauf plasterboards or our Heraklith® Wood Wool. By customising systems, it is possible to significantly minimise noise pollution which could be transformational for schools, offices, homes, hospitals or any public building.”