Why should you consider acoustic insulation?
Acoustic insulation can be applied to almost any area to prevent noise from transmitting through the walls and floors - serving as somewhat of a sound barrier. As acoustic comfort in buildings becomes a greater priority for renovation, retrofit or new construction projects, acoustic insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings takes on greater importance in minimizing noise levels for occupants.
According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, providing a comfortable environment for employees contributes significantly to their optimum performance and reduced absenteeism. They also find that the factors contributing to worker productivity such as acoustic room design are still often overlooked.
That being said, there is a steadily increasing demand for acoustic comfort, driven by occupants and building professionals who recognize the importance it plays in our daily lives – at home, at work and in sensitive environments such as schools and hospitals. The other consideration is the increasing compliance required with building codes and voluntary guidelines surrounding acoustics which we examine in our article, ‘Defining the acoustic requirements and regulations for noise control in buildings’.
In residential applications, ensuring the right acoustic room design including sound-blocking walls is essential, especially if you’re looking for how to muffle sound through a shared wall. Acoustics planning is also an important component if you’re looking to convert your basement into a home theatre or music room where a sound barrier to the floor above may be needed. Acoustics room design can also help to minimize distractions in a home office or reduce the impact noise from noisy neighbors.
For commercial construction, you may want to consider the value of acoustic insulation to help in several areas, including:
- Office buildings: People working in offices – be they open-plan environments with cubicles, private rooms, or large meeting spaces – will likely encounter sound from mechanical equipment in adjacent spaces, copy machines and printers, and phones and voices from other people within the workplace. Creating office privacy and ensuring open plan office noise reduction will lead to a happier, healthier and more productive workforce,
- Healthcare facilities: Noise in many healthcare facilities is a 24/7 phenomenon; the source could be anything from loud equipment used in patient care, conversations between patients and care teams, visitors, making hospital acoustics and protecting patient confidentiality in a busy healthcare setting a valuable part of your design process, and
- Schools and educational institutions: Students and teachers alike will experience noise in the form of hallway foot traffic, conversations, other classrooms, mechanical equipment, and conversations inside the classroom. School acoustics are an important component of creating a positive and productive learning environment.
There are several different ways to achieve the sound isolation goals of a space. The construction assemblies used and the building materials that are specified and selected are only two examples. Sound blocking or isolation is a key component of any acoustics plan and there are numerous product options available to help you achieve the desired STC rating for your space including stone wool insulation.
In order to help you take the best approach for the project at hand, let’s first look at what sound isolation actually is and how it’s measured.