Natural ventilation, sunlight and cleanliness can reduce infection


According to a recently published study by leading expert Dr. Richard Hobday, infections caught in buildings are a major global cause of sickness and mortality. As we spend more than 90 percent of our time indoor, the importance of a good indoor climate with fresh air, sunlight, and cleanliness is even more pertinent.

Before the development of antibiotics; ventilation, natural light, and cleanliness were the means to keep infection under control. However, the findings of Dr. Richard Hobday's research suggest that the design of buildings today is more focused on human comfort rather than health, which in worst case can cause increased sickness, diseases and mortality.

Over the last hundred years, expert opinion has changed markedly on the airborne trans-mission of diseases. It has swung from belief to denial; and then begun to move back. This, in turn, has had a direct influence on the design of buildings. Currently, there are few incen-tives for designers to arrange lighting or ventilation to protect building occupants from air-borne contagion.
Dr. Richard Hobday

These findings from Dr. Richard Hobday's research will be presented at the annual IARU Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen from the 22nd to the 24th of october, where Dr. Hobday will address sustainability from a health perspective.

Sustainability is, according to Dr. Hobday, also about creating a built environment that stimulates both body and mind. Buildings such as hospitals, schools and child care centres are places that particularly need a good and healthy indoor climate as it reduces the risk of diseases and strengthens the health, learning ability, and self-development.

The Danish child care centre the Sunhouse (Solhuset) in Hørsholm is a tangible proof that this is within reach to meet future requirements for sustainable buildings and at the same time - to provide a healthy and stimulating indoor climate. Based on the "Active House principles" – defining buildings with healthy indoor climate that minimise its energy use and environmental impact – it has become one of the most climate friendly day care centres in Denmark.

At completion in 2011 the Sunhouse managed to set new standards for sustainable child care centres. It is carbon neutral and renewable energy driven and it has tripled the amount of daylight defined by the Danish building codes. On top of all this, children have gained a nest where they can learn, live and play in harmony with nature.

The Sunhouse, is one of the VELUX Group's 21 demonstration buildings and is open for visits by the press on Friday, 24 October, where it will be possible to meet the dedicated team and see children unfolding themselves in spacious and brightened indoor environments.

Through its 21 demonstration buildings, using existing products, processes and technologies, the VELUX Group has proved that the buildings of tomorrow can actually be build today. Buildings that comply with the predicted EU building energy standards for 2020 without compromising on indoor comfort, health and well-being. That is the VELUX Group's contribution to the quest for a more healthy and sustainable future.