There are hundreds of companies today offering extensive ranges of ready-made and bespoke acoustic products, designed to improve the architectural acoustics of any space, from soundproofing to noise transmission reduction.
However, as the market has grown in size, so have the concerns surrounding the sustainability elements involved in the sourcing and production of acoustic products and acoustic-improving building materials.
As more and more developers and building owners are striving for more environmentally friendly buildings, not only in energy consumption but also in construction materials, we are here to highlight some of the key things you need to know about sustainable and eco-friendly architectural acoustics.
Why is sustainability important for architectural acoustics?
There have been many innovative developments in acoustic design in the past 5 years, especially when it comes to sustainable and renewable acoustic materials.
However, many conflicts arise when you try to create a sustainable architectural design but also use acoustic quality enhancing materials.
For example, the market standard for acoustic foam is a commercially manufactured single-use plastic. Secondly, it is incredibly hard for specifiers to source environmentally friendly acoustic products which also meet building fire regulations (due to the combustible materials).
For these reasons, it can actually create more cons than pros for developers to use environmentally friendly architectural acoustics.
However, looking towards the future, it is hopeful to see that ground is being broken when it comes to eco-acoustics, with many early adopters reaping the benefits of the latest in architectural acoustics such as:
- Wood Wool panels (natural, sustainable, and fire-proof)
- Moss Wall (biophilic natural sound absorption)
- GENCORK (expanded cork with very high fire rating)
What about acoustic-enhancing building materials?
Cavity fill and plasterboard are commonly used building materials that can provide base-level airborne sound insulation. However, these synthetic materials are not environmentally friendly and have an extensive energy-consuming production process.
The latest eco-advancement in cavity insulation is made of a composite of plant fibre, namely Sisal. Sisal has been utilized as an environmentally-friendly strengthening agent to replace asbestos and fibreglass in composite materials in various uses, perhaps most well known in carpet flooring. This material is an effective thermal and sound insulator and when chemically treated can also be made to be fire-resistant.
Another interesting and multi-functional building material, which is an eco-friendly and high-performing acoustic dampener is PET felt. Manufactured from single-use plastic bottles, Polyethylene Terephthalate is especially well-suited for use in design-led acoustics as it is lightweight, dense, durable, and rigid.
However, a word of caution to specifiers – getting responsibly sourced PET is harder than you might think, as the cheaper stuff manufactured in China is often made not from recycled plastic bottles, but from virgin plastic, ruining the whole point of the stuff.
At Sound Zero, our PET felt is manufactured in Europe, with an 80% standard of recycled material which is traced back to Holland’s canals, where the plastic is dredged straight from the water. In each sheet of PET felt there are over 200 recycled plastic bottles, and the product can even be re-recycled.
Increasing a building’s eco-friendly architecture makes sense not only because it is more environmentally friendly and can potentially drive down energy consumption and associated costs, but it also contributes towards a more healthy and sustainable future.
Pairing this with materials that are natural AND also create spaces with high performing acoustics means you can deliver a sustainable and acoustic-driven design.
If you are an architect or developer looking to achieve an improved acoustic environment in your next building project, then turning to Sound Zero for guidance and collaboration is the perfect option.
Simple changes, guided by our expert insight, can make the world of difference to you and your end-client. We are open to consultations for just ideas and advice but are also available as your partner in your upcoming project, the same way you work with a structural engineer or other construction advisors.
Our team of acoustic consultants is available to discuss your architectural acoustics needs to ensure you select the right acoustic treatment for the space you are working on. We have a range of products that can be completely customised to your colour, size, fabric, and other product requests.
Please do not hesitate to contact us today to go over our bespoke design-led acoustic solutions that can transform your architectural projects.