COMMENT Sounding out the benefits

Ed Peltor of Rockwool UK says that considerations of the benefits of insulation go well beyond thermal performance to acoustics and fire, when looking the whole building envelope


t’s time to look for more from insulation than just thermal performance. Acoustics and, of course, fire safety, or, more accurately, a product’s Reaction to Fire rating, are factors that have to be taken into consideration.

Noise disturbance is fast becoming a major issue in today’s increasingly congested urban environments. Road, rail and air traffic, public works and associated street noise are all contributing to the heightened intrusion of external sound into working, hospitality, public and residential properties. Sound insulation is important in reducing this impact. In our own report, ‘Good Growth, Quiet Buildings’, we highlighted why noise mitigation should be incorporated into the design process of any development to support good health and well-being. Factoring in noise from the outset of a project can be the most cost-effective route to ensuring a high standard of acoustic performance and can be as simple as selecting an insulation material that delivers on both thermal needs and sounds absorption.

A recent new-build project for the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express at London Heathrow Terminal 4 is a useful example. Connected via a convenient air bridge to Terminal 4, this project comprises a combined total of 750 rooms. Minimising external noise from the UK’s busiest airport, where the average number of air transport movements reached a noisy 1,295 per day in 2017, was a major consideration. By utilising insulation with strong acoustic properties and a complementary facade system on the development, the hotel was able to meet its target of a significant Rw 58dB sound reduction.

External ambient noise can also be a major headache for schools, causing distraction, disruption and, at worse, impacting negatively on the academic performance of students. Stone wool insulation has helped the National Autistic Society Anderson School and Enterprise Campus, a new-build, autism-specific facility in Chigwell, Essex, address this priority issue to create a calm, productive and quiet learning environment for all students. At the outset, project designers and specifiers, RMA Architects, recognised the role that effective sound insulation could play in helping to meet this objective for the school. The school’s contemporary, low level design features extensive areas of flat


CROWNE PLAZA & HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AT LONDON HEATHROW TERMINAL 4 By utilising insulation with strong acoustic performance the design minimised the external noise from one of the UK’s busiest airports


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