Healthy schools and day care centres are a value choice
20.4.2017 by Tanja RytköneN
Day care centres and schools are an integral part of the lives of teachers, educators and families with children. When these day care and learning environments are pleasant, it increases people’s well-being both directly and indirectly. We know that time spent in a safe and healthy log building has a positive effect on people’s well-being, both physical and mental.
A natural environment creates a safe foundation for life
Children, youths and their educators spend most of their waking hours during the week in a school or day care centre. In the evenings, many schools also offer their facilities to be used for the hobbies of people of different ages. However, it is worryingly common to find the school and day care buildings lacking in comfort.
Poor indoor air quality and different hazardous substances such as mould and different chemical compounds evaporating from building and decoration materials are fairly common problems that require repairs and the renewing of structures.
This poses a major challenge and in Finland bad indoor air quality is a major factor in aggravating allergic reactions and the symptoms of asthma, for example. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment has estimated that up to 800 000 Finns are exposed to impurities resulting from water or mould damages on a daily basis. It would be beneficial, especially for children, if such exposure could be avoided both at home and in public buildings. Of course, adults can also become sensitised or ill in buildings with indoor air problems.
It is no wonder, then, that natural materials such as genuine wood have become especially interesting choices when it comes to planning new day care centres and schools. Modern log technology allows us to ensure the overall quality and functionality of the buildings, including a constant supply of fresh indoor air. The operating costs of a new log building can also be kept at a very competitive level, which makes the investment decision even more justified.
A log building maintains good indoor air quality
As a building material, the massive wood log developed by Honka is unique: it is made entirely of pine from renewing Finnish forests. Studies have shown the antibacterial pine to be a calming material that creates pleasant acoustics for the building without releasing any hazardous emissions into the indoor air.
And, most importantly, thanks to the natural characteristics of the wood material, the log wall “breathes”: it balances the moisture variations between outdoor and indoor air to maintain the optimal 30-55% moisture level inside the building. If the moisture level exceeds or falls below this optimal range, the building is exposed to harmful moulds and other factors detrimental to people’s health.
Appropriate indoor air moisture level is also a feature that adds to the pleasantness of the building. When the weather is warm, the log building is nice and fresh, and when it gets cold the same building is pleasantly warm. The tight yet breathing structures also ensure that you will not feel a draft in a log house.
For a long time now we have been aware of the need for healthy construction. This is why we are working in close cooperation with such entities as the Tampere University of Technology, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation.
This cooperation has already resulted in the Honka Healthy House concept we launched in 2014, where the entire building project is considered as a whole. The concept takes into account such factors as all the different structure solutions, emissions from surface materials and the quality of the planning and construction work itself. We also bring this same expertise to our public building projects.