Eco-friendly development has become a critical issue in recent years. Designers have set themselves to explore the interrelationships between establishing a secure acoustic ecosystem and sustainable development that is both viable and effective.
Key to this is a systematic consideration of numerous aspects of acoustic design which will impact the sustainability of the built environment:
- Highly populated urban regions and buildings tends to increase in intensity accompanying community noise disturbance so that optimal designs for both aspects are crucial, incorporating planning approaches as well as self-noise-protection buildings.
- Natural means can be used for environmental noise control. For example, in addition to general aesthetic and environmental benefits, vegetation can reduce noise in an urban context due to the effects of multiple reflections.
- Structural envelopes can be strategically designed, for example, using glazing systems which lessen noise but still permit natural ventilation and daylighting. It is also important to compare various window and ventilator systems, including single and double glazing, in terms of the acoustic and sustainability benefits.
- A range of acoustic materials, including sound absorbers, insulators, diffusers and noise barriers, could have similar acoustic performances but significantly different sustainability performances.
- Some sustainable measures, such as wind farms, may be noisy (as well as unsightly) so that the useable land is reduced, and the overall sustainability is negatively affected.
- More fundamentally, an indoor or outdoor space is more sustainable with a good sound quality. The effects of landform, building type, building arrangement and source height are all key considerations, as well as the effects of some calculation parameters.