COVID-19 has put the world’s buildings under the spotlight to reveal glaring inequalities when it comes to unhealthy living and working conditions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the pandemic has highlighted how “some people are able to live healthier lives than others… entirely due to the conditions in which they grow, live, work and age”.
Today is World Health Day and to mark the occasion WHO has adopted the theme ‘Building a fairer healthier world’ calling on leaders to improve access to health services and “ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health”.
It is a theme that resonates deeply with Knauf Insulation’s sustainability commitment to Create Better Buildings and also with our core areas of expertise — producing solutions make buildings better for our health and well-being.
How is Knauf Insulation helping?
We campaign for healthier buildings
In Europe, the European Commission aims to renovate 35 million buildings by 2030 as part of a EU-wide ‘Renovation Wave’.
Siân Hughes, our Group HR and Corporate Affairs Director, says: “This is an ambitious programme that is to be welcomed as part of Europe’s post-COVID-19 green recovery. But it is vital that as Member States create their national recovery programmes they prioritise the public buildings that need renovation most. That is why our Public Affairs teams around Europe are working with national policy makers to draw up plans that focus on improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable such as energy-inefficient residential blocks and social houses.”
We focus on quality renovation
When it comes to any building renovation two essential elements are vital. First, it is important that strong quality assurance systems are put in place to ensure that the work carried out and the products used meet high quality specifications. And, secondly, quantifiable results are delivered and audited. In other words, if a promise is made to improve living conditions it has to be delivered. Knauf Energy Solutions has worked with dozens of housing associations across Europe renovating social homes delivering quantifiable energy efficient renovations.
We specialise in thermal well-being
In Europe some regions with the lowest incomes and highest unemployment rates are the most affected by extreme temperatures which impacts the ability of people to keep their homes cool or warm. “Consequently, the population’s high social vulnerability overlaps with high levels of environmental health hazards resulting in negative health outcomes,” says the European Environment Agency. Knauf Insulation solutions lock in heat when it is cold and act as a barrier to external heat when it is hot.
We can reduce the impact of noise pollution
The WHO has found that noise pollution costs Europe €40 billion every year in terms of lost workdays, healthcare, hospital allocation, decreased productivity at work and school as well as learning challenges. Health issues include stress, sleep disturbance and ischaemic heart disease. Urban areas where populations are highly concentrated are inevitably impacted most by noise pollution such traffic, construction, neighbours or public transport. Knauf Insulation solutions — and system combinations — are highly effective at absorbing sound and improving acoustic well-being.
We understand the importance of air quality
According to the European Commission, a key element of inequality often associated with inefficient buildings is “deficient air quality and exposure to harmful chemicals and materials”. In addition, low air quality and poor ventilation can impact productivity in schools and workplaces Knauf Insulation can help. We were the first company to be awarded Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold for our solutions with ECOSE Technology® — the most comprehensive label for low product emissions. Meanwhile, our Supafil Blowing Wool is also Red List-free and our Mineral Wool with ECOSE Technology® and Tektalan® Wood Wool are certified to the demanding standards of Germany’s Federal Blue Angel eco-label.
We want more green spaces
Urban inequality is often associated with a lack of open space, air pollution, overheating summer buildings and endless concrete. At Knauf Insulation we want to see more green infrastructure everywhere. We have campaigned consistently to put green roofs and green walls at the heart of future public urban plans and our Urbanscape® Green Solutions are great at absorbing air pollution, storm water and CO2 as well as encouraging biodiversity. Plus they help reduce heat island effect — where buildings are hotter than outlying areas — and, ultimately, they look better than concrete.
To read more about how our solutions can improve health and well-being in buildings, discover how we contribute to create better buildings.