Healthy Living - is Half the Battle.
In construction professions it goes without saying, but it has still not quite penetrated the public, that is to say, the media consciousness: knowledge about the connection between well-being and health on the one hand, and the ways and means by which buildings are built and used on the other hand.
The age of total wellness has begun. If the fatherland or eternal happiness used to be top priority, in modern society it is health. In media discussion the talk in this regard is first and foremost about diet and physical training: healthy eating, avoiding alcohol and smoking as much as possible, regularly running and swimming and regular visits to the gym.
The thing that somewhat falls by the wayside in all of this is the environment with which people are surrounded – the real basic pre-requisitie to a person feeling good and to that person actually being able to work on their health in a worthwhile manner. And this applies first and foremost to the building in which they live, work and spend their free time. For, according to sociologists, in spite of playing outdoor sports, walking and going on holiday, 90 percent of our time is spent in indoor spaces. These spaces and the air breathed inside them are therefore vital to our well-being.
Viruses like it to be dry, fungi like it humid.
The modern human being consumes 8,000 to 16,000 litres of air per day – as such air is, so to speak, the most important "foodstuff". With consumption levels this high, it goes without saying that proper quality is very important: the air should have a specific humidity and should be free from pollutants. There are quite a number of physical, biological and chemical factors that affect this. Among the physical phenomena are temperature, air humidity, ionisation, air flow and fine particles. If air is too humid, breathing becomes more difficult and the risk of mould developing increases. Asthma-causing dust mites also thrive in high levels of air humidity. Air that is too dry, on the other hand, not only leads to increased dust levels, but also to dry mucous membranes and thus an increased risk of infection, for example as a result of flu viruses during the cold months. The perfect relative air humidity lies between 40 and 60 percent.
The biological contributors are mildews, bacteria, viruses, parasites, allergens and algae. In the worst cases they can cause allergies, inflammation and infections. Particularly unpleasant in this case are the allergens, that is, substances that cause hypersensitivity reactions via the immune system. They come from domestic dust, mildew spores, animal epithelials, plants or construction materials. They can be responsible for mucous membrane and conjunctival inflammations, a blocked nose and allergic asthma.
Finally, where chemical factors are concerned, the culprits are odours, solvents, formaldehyde and smoke. Unpleasant odours can be emitted from furniture and floor coverings, ventilation pipes or from the external air and can have an adverse affect on an individual's personal state and can even cause stress.
Modern materials often release pollutants into the air. "Volatile organic compounds" (abbreviated to VOC) is the collective term for these organic, i.e. carbon-based, substances that pollute our ambient air. They are produced as a result of industrial activity and traffic, among other things, but they are also released from furniture, textiles, paints, adhesives and dyes. Here we come across a host of chemical compounds, none of which particularly contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Possible consequences are inflammation of the respiratory tract, unpleasant odours and health disorders, known as "Sick Building Syndrome". The fact that this can even cause serious illnesses has been confirmed to residents of houses containing asbestos, which have all had to be refurbished or completely torn down.
Energy conservation versus trouble in the air
Since the 1980s, people have become increasingly aware that energy is a valuable "material". Therefore people also wanted to avoid expensive energy losses in buildings, which lead to huge advances being made with regard to the impermeability of external walls and windows. The reverse side of this coin is that not only heat, but also pollutants remain in the house. External air exchange, the so-called air exchange rate, is nowadays often ten times lower than in old buildings that have not been upgraded.
Pollutants in the internal air often have no clinical symptoms, but cause permanent health disturbances such as mucosal irritations, headaches, concentration disorders and a reduction in performance. You simply feel tired and worn down. This can be counteracted through the use of extensive ventilation or air conditioning. However, the safest option is to avoid the pollutants developing in the building in the first place. The only possible conclusion is this: If you have air-tight building shells, the requirements placed on these shells must be higher. That applies to their construction, but first and foremost to the materials they contain.
Nature's ingenious packaging
The plaster in particular takes on a central role here. It is a much underestimated building component, often dismissed as a purely cosmetic element. Yet once applied to the wall, it generally remains intact throughout the entire lifespan of the building and makes a significant contribution to internal climate control.
The magic word here is lime: for this material is the ingenious packaging that nature itself has developed. We encounter it constantly, everywhere from mussels to egg shells. And humans need lime (calcium) to form bones. On a wall, as a component of plaster, lime has many positive characteristics. A lime-based plaster brings nature into the home. Its antibacterial effect has been known since antiquity. With its high pH value, is prevents the formation of mould. For this reason, the Baumit technicians have assigned lime a vital role in the development of the Baumit Klima and Kalkin products. Baumit lime products are mineral-based and pollutant-free.
Alongside the main raw material of lime-sand, the binding agent calcium hydrate in particular is used to its full potential: during the binding phase, the lime absorbs 70 percent of the released carbon dioxide and solidifies to form natural stone – with impressive properties for health and well-being. These effects are reinforced by the textured surface and microporous structure, which significantly increases the climate-active surface of the plaster.
One building material – twice the effect
The rapid absorption of water vapour makes Baumit Klima control products your ideal climate regulator: the large humidity buffer and the uniform amount of humidity given off ensure a permanently balanced internal climate. Its buffer effect lies above that of both clay plaster and traditional lime cement plasters, with the ability to regulate one third more humidity than gypsum plasterboard and three quarters more than gypsum plaster. In this way, it has a double effect: against excessive air humidity and therefore the risk of mould, as well as against low humidity and the associated risk of infection. This significant reduction of humidity peaks in the room ensures a pleasant and balanced indoor climate.
The concept is as simple as it is ground-breaking: Baumit Klima and Kalkin products react to humidity in the same way as human lungs. With its microporous structure, it forms a huge climate-regulating surface with tiny pores.
Baumit KlimaPutz also has a regulating temperature effect: its thermal storage mass – 10 to 15 tonnes for a detached house – prevents the build-up of heat in summer and ensures a cosier environment in the winter.
The intelligent system for intelligent developers
This, however, is by no means the end of the story. Baumit has developed an entire system of climate regulation products, perfectly tailored to one another, thus mutually increasing their effectiveness. The perfect addition to the Baumit Klima and Kalkin plasters is Baumit KlimaSpachtel – a mineral-based, naturally white putty and fine plaster mortar with rough texture, mineral-based and breathable for a textured surface. Equal in terms of quality, Baumit KlimaGlätte is also available for smooth surfaces.
And the properties of the final coating must also be tailored accordingly: Baumit KlimaFarbe is the ideal supplement. It is emission and solvent-free, and only releases water when being worked with and when left to dry. All of these Baumit climate control products have Natureplus certification. Products with this seal of approval stand out because of their high quality with regard to health, the environment and functionality.
Baumit thus assumes a pioneering role in the area of sustainable development within construction. However, it is not just the Austrian institute for Construction Biology and Ecological Building, which lists the products in its "Construction Book", that confirms this. Baumit's pioneering role in the area of "healthy construction products" is also continually confirmed on an international level.
However, it is first and foremost the residents of the homes in which products from the Baumit Kalkin range have been used who can testify to the effects of this innovative product, and who enjoy a comfortable and healthy living environment.