06 Apr 2023
The UK experienced unprecedented high temperatures during 2022 and 2023 is lining up to be even hotter. The UK's Met Office has stated that the rise in temperatures can be attributed to two factors: the conclusion of a three-year cooling weather pattern called La Niña, and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
With hot weather on the horizon, Dan Pope Associate Acoustician at Delta-Simons Ltd explores the effects of acoustic-driven sleep disturbance.
Many domestic and business premises experienced the impact of poor ventilation in our homes with many people turning to air conditioning, fans and opening windows. With windows fully open and/or fans on, many domestic and office environments experienced a decline in suitable acoustic environments. In 2009, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology stated:
“It has been estimated that 55% of the UK population live in dwellings where the outdoor environmental noise level exceeds a guideline value suggested by the WHO, above which some people become seriously annoyed.”
With more than half of the population living in areas which are already too noisy, approaching another record-hot summer forcing building occupants to open windows, it is clear a perfect storm for sleep disturbance, and resulting productivity decline is on the horizon.
Acoustic Driven Sleep Disturbance
Sleep disturbance has many knock-on health impacts, from stress to hypertension. In 2014 DEFRA estimated the number of noise-related cases of strokes, ischemic heart disease and dementia as a result of sleep disturbance impacts. Combined with an assessment of the financial cost of lack of productivity, it was estimated that noise impacts cost the economy between £7 billion and £10 billion per annum in England. This number is only going to go up if climate changes cause noise disturbance to increase.
Fortunately, updates to Building Regulations are being brought in to help counter this. Approved Document (AD) O (Overheating) was updated in February 2022 to revise the method for calculating the equivalent open area of a window for ventilation and noise-related calculations.
Further to this, in June 2022, the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) and the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) jointly published a draft version of a guidance document on Demonstrating Compliance with Approved Document O.
Acoustic Solution Specialists
Delta-Simons has extensive experience in undertaking acoustic assessments for a wide range of projects, including residential, commercial, education, industrial and highways-related developments.
On recent schemes, the Delta-Simons acoustics team have worked with design teams to:
- optimised site layouts;
- suggested alternative internal building arrangements;
- provided master plan advice on building offsets and barrier blocks;
- optimised noise barriers;
- specified passive slot vents and through wall ventilators; and
- specified active ventilation systems.
Sites always benefit from early involvement from an acoustician and many costly design issues and changes can be spotted and averted by appointing specialist acoustic advice at an early stage.
For future development schemes, the importance of considering noise, ventilation and overheating holistically will only increase, and we are working closely with our colleagues, clients and project teams to ensure that what we design is suitably futureproofed.
Engaging with a nationally (and internationally) trusted provider of Acoustic Consultancy services will help you reduce planning risks, identify challenges relating to noise and vibration impacts associated with your development and overall, and reduce delays when submitting applications through the local planning process.
For further information about our Acoustic services, please contact our Acoustics team by emailing email@example.com.
About The Author
Dan Pope is our Associate Acoustician and heads up the Acoustics Team for Delta-Simons. Dan has over 20 years of experience in audio and acoustics, including 17 years as an acoustic consultant, and a further 3 years as a Technical Writer in the professional-audio industry.
Dan has developed significant experience in evaluating the impacts of noise and vibration in the environment. He has applied this knowledge to numerous assessments for high-profile clients across different fields, including road, rail, residential, retail, energy, sports and leisure, and covering both civil and commercial development. His experience as a technical writer provided important reporting, presentation, and communication skills.
He has been responsible for project management of work on larger projects and has managed the input from members of multidisciplinary teams, collating inputs and handling finances and invoicing.
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