What is acoustics?

6 June 2017 Kingspan Insulation UK
What is acoustics

You may think that insulation is installed just to help with retaining heat or regulating temperatures, but it can also be useful in controlling the movement of sound in buildings.

Acoustics is a scientific term concerning the properties of sound.

A recent technical paper – Healthy Homes: Acoustics – and blog – Healthy Homes: Designing Out Excessive Noise – that can be found on the UK Green Building Council’s website highlight the ‘distress and health impacts of living in an excessively noisy environment’. Recent research shows that a high level of noise exposure poses a risk to hearing. Medium to low levels of noise exposure can lead to annoyance, activity disruption and sleep disturbance. Long-term noise exposure can increase the occurrence of heart disease and hypertension.

With the outcome of this research in mind, it is a good idea to consider insulating your own home to avoid excessive noise exposure, such as from neighbouring buildings or external noise. Within housing and apartments, it can simply be the annoyance of hearing next door’s TV blaring or a shower in use that you wish to reduce. But did you know that there are performance standards to adhere to when designing buildings? For example, Building Bulletin 93 for school buildings, Healthcare Technical Memorandum 08-01 for healthcare buildings, and building regulations outlined in Approved Document E for England and Wales and Technical Handbooks Section 5 for Scotland.

The performance standards mentioned above set internal sound pressure level requirements for typical room usage, among other acoustic requirements. The acoustic term for this is Equivalent Continuous Level, which is area-weighted sound pressure expressed as LAeq. Some rooms require a lower LAeq, like a music practice room or operating theatre, where high levels of concentration and low levels of disruption are needed, compared to a gym or canteen.

To meet a required LAeq the amount of external noise and Sound Reduction Index need to be assessed and calculated by an acoustic engineer. Sound Reduction Index is area-weighted to produce single number quantities and characterises the airborne sound insulation of a material or building element over a range of frequencies, expressed as Rw (dB).

Other articles in this series

Kingspan Insulation Ltd

For queries relating to insulation boards, cavity closers or membranes.

Pembridge

Leominster

Herefordshire

HR6 9LA

General enquiries: 01544 388 601

Technical advice: 01544 387 382

We use cookies on our website www.kingspan.com. To find out more about the cookies we use, or to change your cookie preferences i.e. to remove your consent to our use of certain categories of cookies, please visit our Cookie Policy & Control page.

Please click "Accept and close" to accept the use of cookies on our website. If you do not click "Accept and close" but continue to use this website: you thereby consent to the use of all Kingspan's cookies and third party cookies for the purposes of improving performance, improving functionality and audience measurement, in accordance with the terms laid out in our Cookie Policy & Control page; and we will assume that you have read and understood our Cookie Policy & Control page.