When it comes to designing or renovating an office space the first question that you need to ask is: “What does your space need to do?” Many offices are starting to implement acoustic controls for their space in order to reduce the noise levels and increase productivity. DIRTT has been finding design solutions to help lower noise within the space. Asking questions like the following is important to figuring out your sound needs:
Will Human Resources use it for confidential discussions?
Will you have a coworking space in the middle of private offices?
Will a certain team be near your main conference room?
Asking these questions are vital to designing a workspace that fits your company’s needs pertaining to sound control.
Measuring the Sound in Your Space
The wonderful thing about office spaces is that they can be tailored for your specific needs. When it comes to the sound in your space it can be absorbed, transmitted or completely masked. Two measurements are used to describe what happens when sound hits a surface. It’s important to take steps in order to figure out how to approach your office sound design. DIRTT uses 2 tests while trying to figure out the design plan for a specific office space sound.
- Test #1: NRC
Noise Reduction Coefficient, measures how much sound a surface absorbs or reflects. Tackable fabric and micro-perforated tiles absorb sound and have higher NRCs. NRC most comes in handy when you’re managing sound within a space, for example within a personal office.
- Test #2: STC
Sound Transmission Class, measures how much a surface transmits sound. The higher the STC, the more sound it blocks. According to DIRTT, “At STC 25, normal speech can be easily understood; at 35 it’s audible, but unintelligible; and at 42 it’s just a murmur.” STC comes into play when you’re managing sound between spaces, for example in your office hallways.
How to Manage the Sound
There are many ways to mask, absorb or reduce sound within a space. Positioning Write Away surfaces, which reflect sound, beside a door and micro-perforated tiles or tackable fabric tiles across from it, will help keep sound in the space. Acoustic cabinet fronts as well as acoustic ceiling tiles can also act as a barrier to block out sound in your space. A great option is double-paned glass like DIRTT’s Evil Twin glass walls, which create an air space that dampens sound waves. Insulation can also be layered inside a wall to create an even larger barrier from sound.