The noise that accompanies urban living is a common feature, but most people prefer to keep it out of their homes and workplaces. GSW has seen a growing interest in holistic comfort within indoor spaces, with a focus on reducing sound transmission from the outside. This trend is particularly prominent in areas where new multifamily developments are being planned near noisy environments like train tracks, elevated lines, or freeways.

The building industry is now paying more attention to the acoustic performance of various materials, especially in the glass sector. Factors such as Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Outdoor/Indoor Transmission Class (OITC) ratings are gaining importance in determining how much sound can pass through windows.

As the demand for highly glazed buildings rises in commercial construction, the glass industry needs to demonstrate its ability to address the need for sound performance in addition to aesthetic and thermal benefits. By considering the entire system holistically and integrating components that reduce sound transmission while maintaining thermal advantages, the industry can meet these requirements effectively.

Here are four key considerations to enhance acoustic performance in fenestration design:

1. Glass and glazing configurations:

Utilizing glass mass, asymmetrical insulating glass and multi-cavity glazing can significantly improve acoustic performance. Increasing glass thickness and using asymmetrical glazing can disrupt sound waves, while multi-cavity glazing offers thermal benefits along with occupant comfort.

2. Laminated glass:

Various interlayer options in laminated glass can enhance security, impact resistance, and acoustics. These configurations act as acoustic shock absorbers and can be customized to meet specific acoustic performance goals.

3. Vinyl framing:

High-performance commercial vinyl and composite framing options are becoming popular due to their thermal and acoustic benefits. The multi-chamber design of vinyl extrusions can reduce noise transmission, while welded vinyl and composite frames eliminate gaps that may allow noise infiltration.

4. Taking a holistic approach:

Considering factors like spacer choice, sealant materials, assembly methods, and multi-cavity systems can further improve acoustic performance in fenestration design. Collaboration with component suppliers and acoustic engineers is crucial to selecting the most effective solutions without compromising thermal performance.

In acoustic design, the overall system’s effectiveness relies on addressing all potential weak points. Physical testing is essential to assess the impact of materials and assembly methods accurately.