For years, academics have been observing that people who spend a large amount of time in offices feel sick in the evenings. Headaches, coughing, watery eyes and itchy skin – these are just a few of the unpleasant symptoms associated with so-called
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Studies have discovered that it is those people who spend time in air-conditioned spaces in particular who complain of symptoms.
According to the ProKlima study, one of the most comprehensive SBS studies worldwide, the rate of complaints in air-conditioned spaces is 15 per cent greater than in naturally ventilated buildings. In fact, a poorly insulated air-conditioning system can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can be a potential cause of SBS.
If pipework is insufficiently insulated, this can cause condensation, which in turn causes the formation of bacteria. The air-conditioning system then distributes the bacteria-infested air throughout the building. .
Another potential trigger of Sick Building Syndrome are construction materials produced from chemicals or those that require certain additional components, such as paint, to be 100% effective. These release what are known as volatile organic compounds (VOC) that come under the Technical Regulations for Hazardous Materials in Germany. Since they are invisible and have no smell, they are inhaled unnoticed and can also cause ailments. The problem is that because the ailments are unspecific, they could also be symptoms of other illnesses, and thus for those affected, the link to SBS often remains unclear for a long time. According to the estimates of the Central German Association of Industrial Employer's Liability Insurance Associations (Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften - HVBG), up to 30 per cent of office employees in industrialised nations suffer from Sick Building Syndrome. The economic losses due to sickness run into billions. Reliable insulation provides a remedy.
Elastomeric insulation products are particularly suitable for a healthy indoor climate, as they are dust- and fibre-free. This makes both their installation and being in the building safer and less harmful to health. Flexible, closed-celled rubber insulation products can also kill off bacteria by depriving them of their basis of existence – water. The moisture resistance of the material reliably prevents condensation in and on the cold air pipework of the air-conditioning system and thus keeps the pipe dry.
This is how Kaiflex protects against the formation of mould and bacteria, and does so entirely without any additives in accordance with air purity requirements, such as those that apply in hospitals. In some cases, it is not possible to go without certain accessories in order to guarantee reliable insulation. For this reason, Kaimann has developed system-compatible components, such as the halogen-free Kaiflex 494HHF special adhesive and the solvent-free and Green Building compliant Kaifix EC HF joint connector, that have significantly lower VOC emissions. They are the perfect complements to the halogen-free Kaiflex HF insulation system. This is specifically solvent-free, as well as free from PVCs and chlorides, and, depending on the configuration, complies with the Green Building standards. It can therefore be used without hesitation for sustainable construction and help ensure a healthy indoor climate.