No, it’s not just a sign of your advancing years; it really is becoming a noisier world.
Wind turbines, emergency vehicles, in-car sound systems, home delivery vehicles… the modern world has been getting progressively noisier, as social norms and habits have changed the way we live and tolerate certain sounds.
Contrary to popular belief there is no decibel limit that needs to be exceeded for noise to be categorised as a ‘statutory nuisance’, but the European Union has set 65 dB as the maximum acceptable limit of noise a person can tolerate on a daily basis, while levels between 70-125 dB can be painful (a passing motorcycle may reach 100 dB), above that, outright unbearable.
Leading the fight against noise pollution in the home is the fenestration industry, in particular, Secondary Glazing. Secondary Glazing continues to grow in popularity, in no small part thanks to its unique soundproofing and draught prevention capabilities.
Industry-leader, Granada Glazing, has helped drive the sector forward with major contracts with national partners including hotel chains, museums, banks, housing associations, the NHS and other commercial bodies, whilst gaining a considerable reputation amongst heritage and residential customers, and a respected network of installers.
Established in 1992, the business specialises in discreet aluminium internal windows that radically improve acoustic and thermal performance, whilst remaining sympathetic to building aesthetics. As pressure grows on developers to build on brownfield sites, near busy roads or under flight paths, the issue of noise pollution has the potential to become a major cause célèbre, whilst home energy assessments have focused the home buying public’s attention on to the issue of energy efficiency.
Of course, noise pollution is caused by several sources, road works, trains, industry, to add a few more, but the biggest factor is motor vehicles, estimated to cause 80% of the noise we hear on a daily basis. Recent studies also suggest that adults living in areas with the noisiest daytime traffic were 5 per cent more likely to be hospitalised for strokes than those from quieter areas, with an increase of 9 per cent for the elderly. Mike Latham, Commercial Sales Director at Granada, believes that these low frequency noises are often tolerated far longer than they need to be.
Says Mike: “Low frequency noise can result in actual vibration of the glazing, meaning the problem can get progressively worse. The general “rumble” of traffic noise, passing aircraft, heavy goods vehicles, buses, taxis, train and railway noise, these tend to fall in the low frequency category. In these instances, secondary glazing with thicker glass, fitted correctly, can make the world of difference.”
With a comprehensive product range and portfolio that spans all major sectors, Granada has supported renovations to some of the UK’s most iconic, historic buildings. Here, the aesthetics are usually a crucial factor, but noise too has a role to play.
“Emergency services, power tools, overhead powerlines, these higher frequency noise polluters are from the modern era and not the sorts of things that, even if they had the technology, were around for the architects of yesteryear to deal with.” Today, the technology is certainly with us, says Mike: “Noise is all about our perception and how we relate to it, and acoustic glass can reduce these to a whisper. Secondary windows provide all the thermal insulation and soundproofing that modern living standards demand, whilst preserving the character and appearance of older properties.”
This massive impact is certainly not lost on many of the company’s grateful customers, with comments such as ‘made a huge difference’ and ‘dramatic reduction in noise’ not uncommon.
Now, the Dinnington-based manufacturer is taking further strides towards bringing attention to the issue with an awareness campaign and investment in new premises, technology, production and support staff. Further accreditation from both the Achilles Building Confidence and Constructionline schemes have also been added to the existing BBA, CHAS and ISO 9001 awards.
“It’s important to us to demonstrate our credentials,” concludes Mike, “and to highlight the superb expertise that we have at our disposal. The quality of design and modern look remains an important part of all our products. Discreet, unobtrusive, strong, reliable and long-lasting, these are the characteristics that make us leaders in the field. Our product range has also grown to over xxx lines, as our production capabilities have increased, and the investment we are seeing now means that we are able to build on our position as the largest specialist manufacturer, supplier and installer of secondary glazing services in the UK.”