Incorporating acoustic treatment into your commercial building design makes it accessible to more people and improves the construction quality.
Unwanted noise (also known as “noise pollution”) is more than an annoyance. It can negatively impact people’s lives, including children’s ability to process and understand language, ultimately affecting their development. Poor acoustics can also interfere with learning and how well we manage anxiety. While you would expect hospitals to be havens for rest and healing, nighttime noises impact a patient’s quality of sleep, increasing their risk of heart disease. Unwanted noise can also have a severe impact in the workplace, damaging employee productivity, which impacts revenue.
For all of these reasons, architects, designers, and builders do well to consider acoustics early in the planning process. Not only will they make the best use of their client’s budget, but they will design better by taking acoustics and soundproofing into consideration.
Reducing Noise and Optimizing Sound
Installing materials that absorb sounds and dampen noise levels can be incredibly beneficial in all types of architecture. But there is more to acoustics than just reducing noise – optimizing sound in buildings with auditoriums will improve the ambiance in spaces where an audience will benefit from a speaker that sounds clear and music that is pleasant and enjoyable.
Understanding How Acoustics Works
The first step in understanding acoustics is to learn how sound works and travels, and then to control how the sound moves and how much is audible to the human ear.
There are two types of sound to consider: direct and reflected sound. They work together and come at the audience from different directions. Properly managing those sound waves to avoid interference is critical.
Diffusing and absorbing sound is one way to improve sound quality in a commercial building. Finding a perfect balance by using suitable materials will allow for the optimal distribution of natural sound.
Soundproofing and Acoustic Treatment – What’s the Difference?
Soundproofing is the action of blocking sounds from leaving or entering a room inside the walls before installing drywall. Acoustic treatment not only controls how much sound you hear but also improves the overall sound quality. Sound transmission is managed inside the walls, ceiling, or floor — rather than on the surface. Once the wall is closed, soundproofing is a lot harder and more expensive than when it is done as part of the building process.
Acoustic foam is one material used for soundproofing. It’s pyramid-shaped and highly effective at absorbing sound. Other forms of sound insulation include fibreglass, rock wool, and mineral wood, formed into batts and designed to fit in between the wall studs.
Consider the Source of the Noise
Flat, hard surfaces and equal dimensions act as amplifiers and reflect sound strongly. Absorbers can counter these effects by dampening the sound with soft materials.
If the noise source is vibration from machinery with moving parts, rubber or spring isolators between the machine and the floor will significantly reduce the noise. Building a soundproof enclosure around the machine will also reduce the noise. Substance, mass, isolation, airtight seals, decoupling, and density are additional factors to consider in your solution.
There is never a one-size-fits-all solution to managing noise. You need to develop an understanding of the problem, determine the purpose of the room, and consider the commercial building’s unique needs. Incorporating sound-friendly materials into your design will improve the room experience from the beginning and eliminate the need to improve later. Installing recessed acoustic access doors allows for easy access to building components behind the building’s walls. These doors reduce sound transmissions and help keep outside noises from transmitting to the commercial building’s interior. They’re ideal for drywall walls where maintaining STC (Sound Transmission Class) and OITC (Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class) is required. The unique taping bead flange allows for a concealed finish.
By identifying the noise source and developing a customized acoustical solution, architects, designers, and builders will save valuable resources and stay on budget while improving the building’s occupants’ experience.