- Site Analysis
- Site Use
- Passive Design
- Controlling temperature with passive design: an introduction
- Thermal simulation
- Location, orientation and layout
- Thermal mass
- Glazing and glazing units
- Controlling indoor air quality
- Controlling noise
- Climate change
- Passive House
- Material Use
- Wet Areas
- Health and Safety
- Other Resources
Designing the building and the spaces within it to benefit from natural light, ventilation and even temperatures.
Controlling noise through design and layout
The impact of noise can be reduced through building layout and other design elements.
Where noise cannot be controlled at source, good design can help to reduce its impact. It is important to consider noise control from the beginning of the design project.
Consider all potential sources of noise from both outside and inside the home, and consider all potential sound paths – including direct paths (for example, through doors and windows) and indirect paths (for example, when sound is deflected off walls, or passes through minor gaps in walls, or passes around obstructions such as fences).
Also consider both airborne noise (such as noise from traffic and stereos) and impact noise (such as slamming doors or footsteps in a floor above), and the impacts of reverberation from hard surfaces.
Key strategies include: controlling noise at source; increasing distance from the noise source; closing potential sound paths (such as openings in walls facing sources of noise); and using mass, insulation or buffering to block the noise.
Adding sound control features to a building retrospectively can be expensive, so where possible, aim to control sound at its source. For example:
- use quieter appliances
- minimise vibration noise by placing appliances on rubber pads or proprietary anti-vibration mounts
- install sound-absorbent surfaces in rooms that are potential sources of noise such as laundries, children’s playrooms, and rooms where loud music or games may be played.
Where noise cannot be controlled at source:
- increase the distance between the noise and the location where it will be heard – for example, locate the building as far as possible from a noisy street frontage
- use zones to control noise, by grouping noisy or quiet activity spaces together
- don’t locate windows or doors towards sources of noise
- avoid direct and flanking sound paths by off-setting doors and windows from noise sources
- provide a buffer space or spaces between quiet and noisy spaces – for example, by locating a wardrobe between bedrooms
- incorporate mass into external walls to block external noise, or use fencing or earth mounding
- use sound-attenuating exterior walls or sound-insulated interior partitions to control noise
Noise control should be considered alongside other factors such as orientation for passive heating and cooling, views, privacy, and ventilation. Compromises may be necessary, for example if opening windows are needed for ventilation or solar access on a wall facing a source or noise.