The role of fenestration in sound control

Submitted by Katy Tomasulo on Tue, 04/06/2021 - 16:33
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In New York City, "],[0,[0],1,"9 out of 10 adults"],[0,[],0," are exposed to noise levels that exceed what the Environmental Protection Agency considers to be harmful. The need for high-performing, sound-abating materials for buildings continues to grow due to ever-increasing environmental noise generated by sources like aircraft, traffic, and construction equipment."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Just as the effects of visible light and heat are considered in building design, acoustic attenuation and the effects of unwanted noise must also be carefully evaluated. Excessive noise can damage hearing, but it can also cause myriad other health concerns. The ability to get the proper amount of rest and sleep is an important factor to health and well-being. Individuals who get insufficient rest are more prone to unhealthy reactions like stress and high blood pressure. Employees are also much more productive, in the office or at home, when distractions are minimized."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Designing for sound control requires a holistic approach that includes many elements of a building\u2019s design. Creating a quieter, more comfortable building starts with a focus on windows and doors, the most vulnerable source of unwanted noise. Choosing quality fenestration products with the appropriate glazing configuration, along with proper installation, is imperative for an effective sound control strategy."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[1],1,"STC and OITC"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The common sound transmission resistance measurement used in the building industry today is Sound Transmission Class (STC). It is a rating of how well a building partition attenuates airborne sound. This metric was originally developed for interior partitions, ceilings, and floors but is now used to rate exterior walls, windows, and doors. Sound Transmission Class provides a single number rating for interior building partitions that are subjected to noises from speech, television, office equipment, and other mid- to high-frequency noise sources. The higher the STC rating, the better the noise isolation. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class was devised to represent the attenuation of lower frequencies, such as from aircraft, traffic, and construction equipment. Therefore, OITC is a better measure for exterior glazing assemblies and a better indicator of exterior noise reduction. Some manufacturers will continue to show both OITC and STC ratings until the entire industry begins to use OITC. In the meantime, when comparing manufacturers, be sure to compare matching ratings (e.g., STC vs. STC, not STC vs. OITC)."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[1],1,"Window and door options"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Choosing the right glazing system when specifying windows and doors can be a major contributor to the success of a project and the well-being of its occupants. It takes several parts of a window, working together, to help reduce noise transmission and improve the sound performance of a building. The overall thickness"],[0,[1],1," "],[0,[],0,"of glass in a window or door can make a difference in sound transmission ratings\u2014e.g., 2.5mm glass will be less effective compared to 3mm glass. Triple-pane and laminated glass are popular options for mitigating noise concerns, as they offer additional layers to block the transfer of sound waves."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Variations in thickness"],[0,[1],1," "],[0,[],0,"within a composite\u2014e.g., mixing glass thicknesses in an insulating glass assembly\u2014can also improve sound abatement. When different glass thicknesses are paired, they help dampen sounds at different frequencies."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Proper installation helps ensure airtight seals to help keep noise out. A faulty perimeter seal can easily negate the ideal glass selection for a design. In addition to glazing configuration and installation, window and door frames also help reduce noise transfer. Wood has natural insulating properties, while some fiberglass windows have optional foam insulation that can help reduce sound transmission. Quality vinyl frames can have close to 20 insulating air chambers and optional foam insulation that help keep sound out. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Product type will also affect sound control. Fixed windows will offer the best acoustic attenuation, as they ensure less air infiltration. For venting units, casements and awnings provide the best sound control, as they typically offer lower air infiltration ratings than other window types."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[1],1,"Sound control matters"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Specifying the appropriate sound control is site-specific. Clearly, a retreat in the middle of 100 acres of woodlands will have different needs than a downtown high-rise condo. Selecting the proper glazing in windows and doors is a multi-faceted decision, as occupancy, proximity to high-traffic routes, and sound-sensitive interior uses must all be evaluated. An understanding of the insidious health risks of noise pollution and the technologies that are available today to combat unwanted noise is vital to ensuring an effective sound control strategy and the welfare of a building\u2019s occupants."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[2],0,"Visit "],[0,[3],1,"Pella Architectural Solutions"],[0,[],1," for complete product information, including STC and OITC ratings for Pella windows and doors."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[2],1,"AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or\nprivate, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee\nmember, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her\nofficial capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything\nthat may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement\nof any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using,\ndistributing, or dealing in any material or product."]]]]}
AIA partner Pella explores the key sound-control elements architects should consider when specifying windows and doors.
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For Collage Architects’ Ironclad mixed-use development in Minneapolis, mixed-millimeter (5mm/3mm) insulating glass was specified to improve acoustic attenuation and to dampen sounds at different frequencies.
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Partner content, Pella, sound control, windows, doors, noise pollution
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