St Mary’s Hospital creates a healthy indoor environment for patients
Activ'Air® ceiling and plasterboard products cut formaldehyde by more than 40%, reducing health risks at the hospital.
When faced with the challenge of developing an interior that is as conducive to patient recovery as possible, main contractor, Balfour Beatty, made air quality one of its key considerations. After turning to British Gypsum for a solution, a system containing the manufacturer’s innovative Activ'Air technology was specified alongside a range of interior lining systems to meet the hospitals acoustic and impact resistance requirements.
Activ'Air technology is designed specifically to decompose formaldehyde emissions into non-harmful inert compounds, thus eliminating the risk of re-emission.
British Gypsum's Gyptone ceiling range with ActivAir, was installed in four key areas of the existing hospital building as a retrofit measure. The lead nurse office, corridor areas and memory assessment services office were used to test the success of the products in-situ, providing Balfour Beatty with sufficient data to demonstrate the performance of the technology. Another benefit of this testing phase was that it allowed the client to choose preferred ceiling designs from the comprehensive range. Gyptone Ceiling tiles and plasterboard with Activ'Air technology were then specified throughout the new build hospital building.
The effectiveness of the Activ'Air technology has been tested by the accredited Eurofins laboratory. The test shows that Activ'Air decomposes 70% of the formaldehyde in a controlled test environment when 1m² of Activ'Air technology is installed per volume (m³).
The St. Mary’s hospital project tests showed that, following the installation of Activ'Air ceiling and plasterboard products, there was an average reduction of 42% in levels of formaldehyde, a common VOC which is linked to health issues in high concentrations. Measurements taken in rooms without Activ'Air showed significantly higher formaldehyde levels, in comparison to the same rooms with Activ'Air installed. All results were well below the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organisation of 0.08ppm.
Mark Walsh, project manager at Balfour Beatty, said: “We were asked to create a healthy environment at St Mary’s Hospital to improve patient wellbeing, and British Gypsum’s Activ'Air seemed perfect for the job. We were able to offer an innovative solution for Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) to address the issue of indoor air quality and the results speak for themselves – the innovation has reduced the concentration of formaldehyde in the atmosphere, improving the environment for patients and staff at the hospital.
“In addition to the end-user benefits, the Activ'Air technology works through a paint finish, the products are easy to install, and they offer the same fire, acoustic and durability performance as the standard ceiling and plasterboard ranges – important factors that we have to consider when selecting new solutions.”
Neil Austin, project manager at NHFT, said: “NHFT always looks for opportunities to improve the environment for patients, visitors and the staff. The trial of Activ'Air products in existing buildings and use in the new unit further confirms our commitment to look at all aspects of care for our stakeholders.”
GypWall CLASSIC, GypWall ROBUST, GypWall QUIET and GypWall QUIET SF systems were used to meet the projects acoustic and duty requirements in accordance with BES5234 Part2 1992.
Find out more about Activ'Air technology
Client: Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Main Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Formaldehyde reduction is based on experimental data following IS016000-23 standards from 0.4m² to 1.4m² installed/m³ room.
Lifetime has been confirmed experimentally and analytically on a commercial board sample in the frame of a collaborative work with independent certified body ULE and Pr J. Zhang , University of Syracuse, expert in Environmental Chemistry and Engineering, Mechanical ventilation and Indoor air quality.