The Town and Country Planning Association’s (TCPA) Healthy Homes Act campaign aims to promote good design and quality in our buildings. Through the adoption of eleven ‘healthy homes principles’, such as the home must be free from unacceptable noise pollution and safe from the risk of fire, the TCPA has defined what constitutes a healthy home and are calling on Government to embed them in law.
ROCKWOOL products are used in homes across the UK to increase energy efficiency and cut carbon usage; create quiet spaces in which we can sleep, work, learn and recuperate; and protect against the dangers of fire in the buildings we occupy. We understand the importance of a built environment made up of healthy buildings which enhance people’s health, safety and wellbeing.
This year, these issues have become all the more important. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic we are spending more time than ever indoors, bringing in to sharp focus the importance of having high quality homes. Taking noise as an example; studies have shown that exposure to unwanted noise can contribute to sleep disturbance, hypertension, and an increased risk of diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease. The World Health Organisation has found that at least one million healthy life-years are lost every year in western Europe due to environmental noise. This year, in many cases, poor noise is adding to physical and mental discomfort in these already challenging times. The BBC found that in the early days of lockdown, 44 out of 51 local councils received increased noise complaints from residents.
High-quality housing with good acoustic design can go a long way in addressing noise issues. The choice of materials used to build our homes can make a significant difference to the experience of noise from internal and external sources. For example, the BRE and Loughborough University have led the development of a dementia-friendly home designed to enable people to remain in their own homes for longer. Studies have shown that high noise levels can be problematic for people with dementia, resulting in sleep deprivation, agitation, confusion and fear. The house has therefore been designed to manage internal and external noise, with adaptions including sound insulation on the building walls, roof and between the floors, creating a more peaceful environment for occupants.
Using the right materials can also deliver multiple benefits for a home – for example, our insulation products can make a building more energy efficient as well as mitigating against unwanted noise. By taking a holistic approach to building design and considering different parts of the building together, solutions can be chosen that deliver on multiple fronts, simplifying the approach as well as delivering on quality. This is reflected in the Healthy Homes Act campaign which considers how all the elements of the building impact our health and wellbeing together and is why we’ve been so pleased to support it.
For more information about the campaign, visit the TCPA’s website here: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/healthy-homes-act