Acoustic - Greenwood
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Noise and Ventilation

Noise is a nusiance and is the last thing that you want in the comfort of your own home.  In new build particularly, it has become an increasing issue as a result of brownfield re-development and density planning guidance.  

Noise sources can be both internal and external and ventilation specification can play a part in both.


What is acceptable noise?

The Building Regulations support the control of noise - from externall sources and from the ventilation system itself.  For ventilation systems ADF:2010 suggests the following sound power levels for continously running systems:


Bedrooms/living rooms: An upper limit of 30dB(A) weighted sound power level Kitchens/bathrooms: An upper limit of 35dB(A) weighted sound power level 

Acoustic Ventilation - What are the options?

When a site requires acoustic protection it is usually considered at planning and design stage and often means that certain building elements can no longer be used as a source of ventilation e.g. windows.  In this instance, acoustic ventilation solutions are often required and a performance criteria based on a decibel reduction is required.

Acoustic Ventilation Solutions are available in many options including;

Window Ventilators - offering up to 42dB(A) 
Wall Ventilators - offering up to 55dB(A)
Mechanical Input Fans - offering up to 44dB(A)

Due to the size of the products it may not always be the case that they can be simply swapped for the non-acoustic versions e.g. a standard window vent for an acoustic one.  Therefore DESIGN is crucial.  Sometimes the entire ventilation strategy may need to be re-considered to provide the mose effective option e.g. MVHR Heat Recovery Ventilation 

Our Acoustic range

  • 2500EA/5000EA

    Smallest acoustic window vent providing 5000mm² equivalent area ventilation on the market whilst achieving Building Regulations' EA requirements along with acoustic performances up to 45dB(A)
  • AAB

    The classic acoustic airbrick is suitable for new build and refurbishment applications and delivers an acoustic performance of 46dB(A). Provides 2500mm2 equivalent area.
  • AWV39

    The AWV39 passive wall ventilator is suitable for new build and refurbishment projects and provides an excellent acoustic attenuation to 39dB(A).
  • EAR42W

    EAR42W is an acoustic window vent suitable for new build and refurbishment and can be applied to most window profiles with add on sections. Provides acoustic performance of 42dB(A).
  • MA3051

    Highest performing acoustic wall ventilator in the UK - the MA3051 is ideal for new build applications where noise planning restrictions are in place. Providing up to 55dB reduction and suitable for wall thicknesses of 140mm and above. Supplied with white external grilles.

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Noise pollution

Noise is a nuisance and is the last thing that you want in the comfort of your own home. In new build particularly it has become an increasing issue as a result of Brownfield re-development and density planning guidance notes. What this has meant is that homes have more probability of being sited close to busy roads, railways and airports, meaning more noise which has an impact on the domestic environment. Noise sources can be both internal and external; from the external environment and location, internally between rooms/apartments and even from products, all of which must now be considered at the design stage.

What is acceptable noise?

The decibel scale runs from the faintest sound the human ear can detect at 0dB to well over 180dB which is similar to the noise a rocket creates during launch.

The Building Regulations support the control of noise - from external sources entering the building and from the ventilation system itself within the building.  It is moving up the agenda every single revision and planning restrictions continue to be placed on sites where external noise transfer will be a problem.

For ventilation systems, ADF:2010 suggests the following sound power levels for continuously running systems:

Bedrooms/living rooms
An upper limit of 30dB(A) weighted sound power level.

Kitchens/bathrooms
An upper limit of 35dB(A) weighted sound power level.

Acoustic ventilators

When a site requires acoustic protection it is usually considered at the design stage. This sometimes means that certain building elements can no longer be used as a source of ventilation, e.g. windows. In this instance it may be essential to provide acoustic ventilation solutions that provide the necessary airflow, but reduce noise transfer. The nature of acoustic products means that they are usually much larger than their standard counterparts, meaning a like-for-like installation cannot always be easily achieved. When acoustic ventilation is required this should also be considered at the design stage, as the noise factor may actually pre-determine the method of ventilation that will be used within the dwelling.

A more effective approach for design - MVHR

With most ventilation systems, a number of penetrations in the external façade or windows of the dwelling are required to allow air in and out of the dwelling. It is these openings that allow noise transfer from outside and acoustic versions are often the first point of call as they continue to ventilate, but also attenuate the external noise transfer.

An alternative solution would be to review the entire ventilation strategy for the building.  An optimal solution for reduction of noise transfer is Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery which works as a whole house system, both extracting and supplying air which negates the need for window ventilators. The design of an MVHR system requires only two penetrations in the façade of the building, therefore providing a more effective design led solution for any site with noise issues.

When dealing with acoustic issues on site, it is not as simple as replacing a standard product with an acoustic version. Other options such as heat recovery ventilation can provide effective whole house performance to Building Regulations as well as comply with any ventilation noise planning restrictions that have been put in place.

Zehnder Group