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THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE 27


in building resilience. The way we use our homes is changing – for example, more people are working from home. This makes noise and its impact on health and productivity more of an issue. Choosing the right insulation will help to prevent unwanted noise from penetrating the building from outside or from one room to another. Acoustic mineral wool insulation is highly absorbent and traps sound energy between the individual strands and turn it into heat energy. Approved Document E sets out the


minimum standards for acoustic perform- ance of dwellings, but at present it only governs walls and floors classed as separat- ing elements and internal walls separating bedrooms and bathrooms from other rooms. For a building to be resilient, you need to consider sound transfer between rooms too – somebody using a room as a home office will need it to be well-insulated from children playing or a noisy washing machine in the adjacent room. And just as we’ve seen Building


Regulations change for fire, and imminently for thermal performance, so too are they likely to become stricter regarding acoustic performance, especially as we better understand the serious health, wellbeing and productivity


impact of noise pollution. A resilient building designed with real world acoustic performance in mind is more likely to remain fit for purpose. Focusing on long-term real-world


thermal, fire and acoustic performance will not only ensure housebuilders and develop- ers meet the sustainability challenge, it will give them a marketing point of differentia- tion too. After all, occupants will be keen to


choose an eco-friendly property if it’s also safe, warm, quiet and cheaper to run. However, a failure to take resilience into


account during the design and build process risks building a generation of build- ings that are simply not fit for purpose – by its very nature that is totally unsustainable.


Steven Smith is head of product management and business intelligence at Knauf Insulation.


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