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Creating healthy


classrooms


Carl Davison, Technical Services Manager for Kingspan Industrial Insulation, explains how to achieve indoor air quality required by the new regulations


I


N the middle of last year, a report commissioned by the Mayor of London’s office concluded that pupils at London schools were being exposed to higher levels of certain types of pollution inside the classroom than outside. Amongst the most common of these indoor pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are emitted by a range of classroom materials including cleaning products and building materials and can have serious health impacts — particularly for children with asthma or allergies.


To help schools to address this issue, the government released updated guidance within Building Bulletin 101: Guidelines on ventilation, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality in schools. Within its recommendations, the document highlights that the removal of pollution sources from the classroom is a more effective way to control air quality than through reliance on ventilation. One of the simplest ways to achieve this when carrying out any construction or refurbishment work is by specifying building materials that have been certified under the rigorous Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort (Eurofins IAC) programme.


The Eurofins IAC certification programme harmonises the criteria by which a product’s VOC emissions are assessed in product regulations from across Europe. The voluntary certification tool is split into two levels: Standard Certification - This shows that a product’s emissions are compliant with the minimum legal specifications issued by authorities and governments within the European Union.


Gold Certification – This recognises the product is compliant with many of the most demanding voluntary performance standards and can be recognised as being an outstanding material according to the VOC Indoor Air Quality emissions regulations. To achieve Eurofins IAC Gold certification, production facilities are first assessed by an independent inspector who has been approved by Eurofins. The assessor looks at all factors which may affect emissions from the product, such as archival changes in a product’s formulation. During the inspection, samples of products are taken for emissions testing. If the test results suggest compliance and no issues


44 educationdab.co.uk


are raised in the inspection report, then the product is issued with certification. Critically, Eurofins requires


manufacturers to engage in a process of continuous testing and auditing. Recently certified products are subjected to emission testing and production site inspections every year to ensure low emissions. As a result, specifiers can have confidence that the performance and quality of certified products will be maintained over time.


A growing number of construction products have now achieved Eurofins IAC Gold including building service materials such as pipe insulation


Attainment of ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ ratings under BREEAM are routine requirements for many school constructions. The latest version of BREEAM New Construction UK now places a greater emphasis on indoor air quality. The completion of an indoor air quality plan is now a pre-requisite for achieving any credits within the Health & Wellbeing - HEA 02 subsection. In addition, there are now two credits available for specifying low-VOC compliant materials and the scope of assessment has been widened to cover more products.


Pupils spend the vast majority of their school day within the classroom. It is therefore crucial that school buildings properly protect their wellbeing, allowing them to enjoy their education experience to the fullest. By using construction and building service products certified under the Eurofins IAC Gold scheme specifiers can help to create a healthier classroom environment whilst also potentially attaining additional BREEAM credits.


www.kingspanindustrialinsulation.com


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