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Healthy Building Syndrome: Porcelain panels that are good for your health

Active 2.0 is a photocatalytic coating developed for MAXIMUM porcelain panels


We spend so much of our lives inside buildings – houses, offices, schools, shopping centres – but, while these structures do a good job of protecting us from the elements, they also expose us to a range of chemicals that can have a significant impact on our health. Heating and air conditioning systems bring in pollution with outside air, while furniture, paint, building materials and cleaning products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and harbour mould and bacteria. The phenomenon is known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and, for unfortunate building occupants, it manifests in symptoms ranging from irritated eyes and skin to headaches and nausea, and more serious conditions.

Products like VOC-free paint and natural floorcoverings have gone some of the way to reducing the prevalence of SBS, but only now has a building product been designed that actively removes air contaminants from indoor spaces. Active 2.0 is a photocatalytic coating developed for MAXIMUM pressed porcelain panels that reduces indoor nitrogen oxide and VOC levels, has antibacterial and anti-odour properties, and is self-cleaning.

Removes toxic nitrogen oxides from the air

Nitric oxide and nitric dioxide (commonly known as NOx) are air pollutants produced by cars, coal-fired power stations and industrial combustion processes. On their own, they can cause respiratory problems, but they’re also highly reactive with other chemicals in the environment, creating an array of dangerous vapours and particles. Active 2.0 puts the reactive nature of NOx to good use, however, through a photocatalytic process that removes it from the air.

Of course, as with all building products, the manufacture of MAXIMUM itself leads to NOx emissions. But after only two years, each Active 2.0-coated MAXIMUM panel will have removed an amount of NOx equivalent to that created by its production. From then on, it works purely for the benefit of general air quality.

Reduces concentrations of dangerous VOCs

Not all VOCs are harmful to humans, but three of the worst are found in high concentrations in indoor air. Benzene, released from cars, plastics and resins, is a known human carcinogen. Formaldehyde, which is emitted from paints, adhesives and furniture, and chlorine derivatives, produced by cleaning products, have also been linked to cancer. So removing these from the air should be a priority in every modern building. Again, Active 2.0 does just that, in a photocatalytic reaction that occurs not just in UV light but under LED lights too. And because it acts as a catalyst in the reactions with these pollutants, the coating is unaffected, so it doesn’t “wear out” over time.

But Active 2.0 reduces VOC levels in other ways too. Cleaning products are a major source of indoor VOCs and, typically, the more aggressive the detergent, the more VOCs are released into the air. Because water flows across Active 2.0, rather than beading into droplets, its surface is essentially self-cleaning. As a result, a smaller amount of mild detergent is needed for regular cleaning, which in turn limits the VOCs in the air. This property is also useful when MAXIMUM panels are used on building exteriors, because it reduces the work required to keep them looking their best.

Heavily scented air fresheners are another significant contributor to indoor VOC levels, but with Active 2.0’s anti-odour properties, again, the need for them is greatly reduced.

Preventing the spread of bacteria

Two of the bacteria most often linked to human illness are E. Coli, a common cause of food poisoning, and MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that can cause serious and difficult-to-treat infections throughout the body. Testing has revealed that Active 2.0 reduces growth of both E. Coli and MRSA by between 99.6% and 99.9%, not only in UV and LED light but in the dark too. This not only mitigates the risk of infection, with all of the trauma that entails, it reduces the need for intensive antibacterial detergents, again limiting the amount of VOCs released into the air.

A unique answer to Sick Building Syndrome

The “healthy building” benefits of Active 2.0 come on top of the wide range of advantages offered by MAXIMUM porcelain panels, including their 100% natural composition, free of the toxic resins and chemical binders used in engineered stone. And of course, their aesthetic beauty, with colours and markings matched to natural stone, marble, concrete and more. A handful of other products claim to offer similar antipollution and antibacterial performance, but because their coatings are applied as nanoparticles, there are health risks associated with the manufacturing process. This leaves MAXIMUM Active 2.0 as the singular building product on the market that is a true antidote to Sick Building Syndrome. For business owners, its means less sick leave, greater productivity and greater profitability. And for all of us, it means a greater sense of wellbeing and a healthier life.

Please note, Active 2.0 is offered as an optional addition to standard MAXIMUM panels and minimum order quantities apply. Contact your nearest distributer for more information.

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