Noise pollution is the primary cause of reduction in productivity and can contribute to stress and illness which can also contribute to absenteeism and continuous turnover of staff, but what about in Education?
Thankfully the introduction of BB93 in 2003 which set out minimum performance standards for the acoustics of school buildings, and describes the normal means of demonstrating compliance with the Building Regulations, has led not only to an expected standard of noise control, but also to an increased understanding of the importance acoustic treatments have in learning, and in turn educational projects now almost always factor in the acoustic treatment at design stage.
To break down the importance of adding absorption, the typical noise level in a classroom is 65 dB and shockingly that’s only 30 dB less than a lawnmower! And background noise, even at low levels, has been found to increase stress levels and undermine short-term memory, reading comprehension and willingness to engage with others.
Let’s face it, school rooms, sports halls, libraries etc. rarely have soft furnishings and with the increase of hard, easier to keep clean flooring, there has been an increase in the issues with noise. So how do we treat it?
Adding acoustic treatments can offer immediate relief from reverberant sound where both walls and ceilings can be fully utilised to grab those sound waves and turn the rooms back into useable areas quietly and confidently, and thankfully even existing buildings can add this all-important addition as a retrofit.
Class ceiling baffles and rafts by Soundtect which have an NRC of 0.95 are a perfect solution, especially in this glass walled era, catching the sound waves that hit them and diffusing them or trapping them inside the products, and have been widely specified in schools due to their incredible absorption and lightweight properties, not to mention their incredible 70% recycled PET and low VOC content.
Alternatively, the Freestyle acoustic sheets can and have been used imaginatively to create stunning ceiling and wall features while injecting some branding or fun into the spaces, or hanging screens for partitioning off quiet areas in large open plan spaces, or simply added to quiet booths and consultation rooms to create a calming atmosphere.
Even the higher price bracket Class A 3D range by Soundtect has widely been specified in lecture halls and auditoriums; their high level of performance adding a wow factor in key areas to set the building apart and keep it memorable, long after the noise has gone.
From nursery schools right through to higher education, libraries to lecture theatres, sports halls to student accommodation, all these rooms and areas will benefit highly from keeping the noise levels low and contained, and with such as array of finishes, colours and applications, Soundtect is definitely one to consider for your next educational project due to their incredible range of highly absorbent solutions for both walls and ceilings.
Remember, a calm environment supports a healthy mental state which can significantly improve students’ work ethic, motivating them and promoting positive relationships and increasing productivity all round.
So the bottom line is think carefully when trying to develop your project. Educate yourself to the options out there to create a sound building for the future generations.