Energy Efficiency
Noise pollution
Fire safety

Keeping energy consumption, safety and privacy in check as cities grow

Alessandro Bracco
March 26, 2019

Booming urbanization means a greater demand for energy and people living closer and closer together. How can we better manage this problem?

Urban high-rise buildings seen from above

Did you know that 2.5 billion people are expected to join the global urban population by 20501?

It’s easy to understand why: Urbanisation promises a number of socio-economic benefits — such as improved housing conditions, access to new technologies and greater job opportunities to name a few. 

To attract and retain these new opportunity-seeking arrivals cities will need to address some key challenges.

Too hot, too cold

People spend 90 percent of their time indoors. They want to stay warm in winter and cool in summer, but heating and cooling is often expensive, accounting for 16 percent of an average household’s total spending.2

Providing residents with energy efficient buildings is a solution to this, and will also help cities meet a lot of other objectives, including: reducing pressure on energy grids; providing more comfortable places for residents to live, work and play; and helping reduce the city’s carbon footprint in line with the Paris 2015 climate agreement. 

One of the best ways to improve energy efficiency is with building insulation. Proper insulation alone can reduce heating and cooling needs by up to 80%. Insulating buildings with stone wool has the potential to save thousands of tera-watt hours of heating energy, an amount equivalent to 5%of the annual energy consumption of the EU3.

Peace and quiet

Building insulation can help solve some other key challenges facing growing cities, including helping reduce the risk from fire and reducing noise pollution. 

Stone wool insulation is inherently non-combustible and can resist temperatures above 1,000ºC. This allows it to contain fires locally and prevent them from spreading rapidly, giving residents more time to evacuate in an emergency and giving firefighters more time to respond.

It can also reduce the impact of some of the less charming aspects of living in a city, like noise from neighbors above and below and from the traffic on the streets. Far more effective than ear plugs or a white-noise machine is what’s inside the walls and stone wool insulation is very effective at blocking noise and absorbing sound, helping city dwellers work, study and sleep in peace. 

The complete package

More people are coming to cities for opportunities that they provide in the way of jobs, culture, convenience and more. To attract and retain these newcomers, cities can achieve a lot with by improving energy efficiency, indoor comfort, fire safety and noise pollution in the buildings where people live, work and play.

And the solution to some of these important issues can be reached by simply choosing the right insulation material. 



1. World Urbanisation Prospects, UN, 2014

2. Buildings in Urban Regeneration, 2018

3. European Commission, Eurostat, 2017

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