Four key areas where insulation supports a more sustainable built environment
Climate change and energy efficiency are major issues and it’s easy to forget the important role that insulation has in delivering a sustainable built environment. Its contribution helps to reduce harmful air pollutants such as carbon monoxide and fine particles, to reduce the costs of heating and cooling a building and to ensure a comfortable indoor climate.
Buildings play an important role in terms of air quality. On one hand, the energy used to heat and cool buildings, whether produced on site or at large fossil fuel power stations, creates air pollution.
For example, buildings have become the number one source of particle emissions. On the other hand, with most people spending a majority of their time indoors, good indoor air quality is also important. Energy efficiency impacts both these issues. More energy efficient buildings mean less air pollution being produced from and because of buildings. With better outdoor air quality being an important factor for indoor air quality, improved energy efficiency can and should support better indoor air quality. At the same time, the move towards more energy efficient buildings needs to be coupled with an appropriate consideration of how to manage indoor air quality to ensure that these benefits are fully realised.
Related to indoor air quality, comfort relates to how well a building helps people get on with their life or work within it. Comfort is part of the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) category in LEED standards, for example. Considerations include personal temperature, ventilation, healthy air conditioning and use of daylighting.
Fire safety is a crucial part of constructing and managing a building sustainably. Mineral wool insulation is the best option for fire safety – Knauf Insulation’s unfaced mineral wool products achieve A1 for fire reaction.
A sustainable building should control noise emissions to ensure no gradual increase in ambient noise levels occurs over time. Insulation materials are a key part of different noise protection systems and therefore help significantly in reducing negative effects of noise. In particular mineral wool products help to protect against indoor and outdoor noise thanks to their excellent sound absorption properties.