Optimal sound environment for flexible offices

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A good sound environment contributes to a more efficient and healthier working environment. In today’s flexible work life with high tempo, intense communication and rapid changes, solutions for optimal acoustics are more important than ever. For this reason we have created the PARAFON DECIBEL concept.

We present a range of suspended ceiling products that both insulate and absorb sound. The concept offers complete solutions for effective sound attenuation, especially in office environments with the special acoustic challenges presented by structures with flexible system walls.

In collaboration with one of Sweden’s leading acoustics experts, Doctor of Technology Pontus Thorsson, we have developed, tested and adapted the concept for Nordic conditions.

R´w  Total sound insulation between rooms
Rw  Direct sound insulation
Dn,f,w  Sound insulation via suspended ceiling

dB  Unit for sound level

Sound absorption: capturing and damping sound and its reverberation in a room.

Sound Insulation: damping sound as it passes between rooms.

The combination of the direct sound insulation (Rw) from the wall and the insulation via the suspended ceiling (Dn,f,w) should give the total sound insulation required (R’w).

To some extent, a good sound-insulating ceiling can make up for a less good sound insulating partition wall, and vice-versa, but this only works to a certain degree.

There are several factors in addition to the ceiling and walls that can affect total sound insulation between rooms, primarily different forms of sound leakage via recessed and continuous installations, doors, floors and ventilation.

We think it should be easy to build office workplaces that are flexible yet pleasant to spend time in, not least in terms of the sound environment. This creates an economic, social and environmental sustainability that benefits both the employees and the business.

Takes advantage of the benefits…

PARAFON DECIBEL was primarily developed to create effective acoustic solutions in environments constructed using prefabricated system walls that attach sound environment directly to the suspended ceiling.

The concept of system walls allows a quick and industrial construction process. It saves time and money – and offers increased flexibility, as the suspended ceiling does not need to be replaced when walls are moved due to renovation or reorganisation.

Reuse also provides an environmental benefit, and because all materials are ready for installation, the amount of waste and the number of transports to the construction site are reduced.

... and handles the challenges

However, the construction method also involves challenges for the acoustic environment. Office environments built with flexible walls are often constructed with a suspension height of 400 mm or more. This affects both sound insulation and sound absorption in a negative way.

This can refer to disturbances and noise that impair the working environment, in addition to problems in meeting the need for privacy and confidentiality. The products in the PARAFON DECIBEL range, which are optimised for both sound insulation and sound absorption, can handle these challenges easily.

Our concept makes it possible to combine the need for flexible offices with optimal acoustic solutions. Good for both the business and the people!

SOUND INSULATION IN PRACTICE 

The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning’s building regulations specify the requirements for sound insulation that must be achieved in newly constructed premises, including offices. The requirements correspond to sound class C, in accordance with the Swedish standard SS 25268:2007 + T1:2017 for acoustics in buildings and sound classification of buildings.

The most common sound insulation levels between spaces in sound class C are R’w 30 dB, 35 dB och 44 dB. For spaces with high requirements for confidentiality, the R’w requirements are 40 dB and 48 dB. The floor plan specifies the most common sound insulation requirements to be achieved between spaces.

 

Examples of the sound insulation requirements between different rooms. Note: This is an image containing examples of general requirements in a commonly used floor plan and does not cover all possible requirements for sound insulation/noise reduction.

 

Solutions for all types of premises and activities

PARAFON DECIBEL offers solutions for all types of premises and activities, from background noise up to the most demanding sound levels. In order to achieve the desired sound insulation between rooms with a whole, unbroken suspended ceiling and the system walls that are connected to the ceiling, it is important that both the suspended ceiling and the partitions have sufficient sound insulation.

The table below specifies how suspended ceilings and partition walls can be combined to achieve a specific total sound insulation level (reduction index) R’w between different rooms.


The figures in the table indicate the minimum direct sound insula-tion for walls in order to meet the total sound insulation between rooms. The calculations assume a 10 square metre dividing wall between the rooms, and that the installations have been carried out, sealed and sound insulated correctly in relation to the requirement level. The table was designed by Akustikverkstan in accordance with SS-EN 12354-1.

The requirement for sound insulation in walls depends on the size of the wall and should be calculated for each individual case. The values in the table should therefore only be considered as a guide. Paroc takes no responsibility for meeting noise requirements in any project based on these calculations.

Between spaces without specific requirements for confidentiality, such as between office rooms, the sound insulation requirement is R’w 35 dB and R’w 30 dB from the corridor. Sound insulation R’w 35 dB is resolved using Parafon Decibel Mute throughout, al-though solutions are also available using Parafon Decibel Light.

 

PARAFON Decibel Mute

Total sound insulation Rw 35 dB and Rw 30 dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Mute

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 42 dB

Requirements partition wall Rw 30 dB:
Direct sound insulation Rw ≥ 31 dB

Requirements partition wall Rw 35 dB:
Direct sound insulation Rw ≥ 36 dB

 

 

 

PARAFON Decibel Barrier

Total sound insulation Rw 35 dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Light and PARAFON Decibel Barrier, single, 40 mm mounted vertically above partition walls.

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 48 dB

Requirements partition wall
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 36dB

 

 

 

 

PARAFON Decibel Light

Total sound insulation Rw 30 dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Light

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 35 dB

Requirements partition wall 
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 32dB

 

 

 

 

 

PARAFON Decibel Light, PARAFON Decibel Bass

Total sound insulation Rw 35 dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Light and PARAFON Bass, above suspended ceiling, 1200 mm from partition wall

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 42 dB

Requirements partition wall
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 36dB

 

 

 

 

When silence is particularly important

A good sound environment should promote efficiency and health, but sometimes there are also extra high demands on sound insu-lation to comply with the requirements for confidentiality and priva-cy. For example, information that must not or should be heard by others could be discussed in a conference room or meeting room.

There are different levels of confidentiality, and the type of business and its needs must always control this, but a good guideline is that the sound insulation between rooms is 44 dB or above. PARAFON DECIBEL makes it easy to achieve this level.

Solutions for confidentiality requirements

Between rooms with moderate requirements for confidentiality or partitioning, such as meeting rooms or conference rooms, the insulation requirement is R’w 44 dB according to sound class C, meaning that the sound insulation out to the corridor must be R’w 35 dB. These are common requirement levels and are easily resolved using Parafon Decibel Mute.

When the requirement for confidentiality and privacy is high, in specific meeting rooms, boardrooms or rooms for confidential conversations, the sound insulation requirement from other spaces is R’w 48 dB and R’w 40 dB from corridors.

PARAFON Decibel Mute, PARAFON Decibel Barrier

Total sound insulation R'w 44dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Mute and PARAFON Decibel Barrier, single, 40 mm mounted vertically above partition walls

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 52dB

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 45dB

 

 

 

 

PARAFON Decibel Light, PARAFON Decibel Barrier

Total sound insulation R'w 44dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Light and PARAFON Decibel Barrier,40 mm, single or double mounted vertically above partition walls.

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 48dB with single Barrier

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 47dB

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 53dB with double Barrier

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 45dB

 

 

PARAFON Decibel Mass, PARAFON Decibel Bass

Total sound insulation Rw 44dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Mass with PARAFON Bass, above suspended ceiling, 1200 mm from partition wall.

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 46dB

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 49dB

PARAFON Bass, above suspended ceiling, comprehensive.
Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 48dB

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 47dB

 

PARAFON Decibel Mute, double PARAFON Decibel Barrier

Total sound insulation Rw 48 dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Mute with PARAFON Decibel Barrier, double 2x40 mounted vertically above partition walls.

Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 54 dB

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 50dB

 

 

 

 

PARAFON Decibel Mute

Total sound insulation R'w 40 dB

Suspended ceiling: PARAFON Decibel Mute.
Sound insulation via suspended ceiling Dn,f,w 42 dB

Requirements partition wall:
Direct sound insulation: Rw ≥ 45dB