Good Growth, Quiet Buildings
Quality of life is important to us all and the buildings we live and work in have a big impact on our health and well-being. A key factor in this is access to the peace and quiet we need to rest and relax, as well as to concentrate on activities such as work and learning.
However in London, as in many major cities, noise is a growing issue. The growth in higher density residential developments around transport hubs, coupled with the move towards a 24-hour economy, means that London will continue to face specific challenges in achieving good growth and a good night’s sleep.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that between 2002 and 2012, noise increased from 9th to 4th place on the list of environmental priorities identified by the public - an area in which ROCKWOOL is well-placed to offer solutions. That’s why our MD Rory Moss was delighted to share the stage with London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development last Thursday at the Danish Embassy, speaking on the topic of Good Growth, Quiet Buildings.
The event addressed the impact of noise on our lives, with speakers highlighting the very real health implications and knock-on effects for the public purse. For example, a WHO study found that at least 1 million healthy life years are lost every year in Western Europe as result of exposure to environmental noise. That makes noise the second largest environmental cause of ill health after air pollution, with the social cost of environmental noise placed at £7-10bn a year in the UK alone.
But given the pressure to rapidly deliver many more homes, hotels and commercial premises in London, how do we ensure that noise doesn’t get overlooked? At ROCKWOOL, we believe that building in noise considerations from the outset of a project is the most straightforward and cost effective route. By considering noise as an integral part of the design process, alongside factors such as aesthetics, lighting and layout, materials can be carefully selected to meet real life performance needs.
There’s good news from a commercial perspective too – quiet sells. For example, research from the retailer John Lewis found that 49% of Britons considered noise an important factor in buying products, and an installation of Quiet Mark approved products in their Oxford Street store last June saw sales of these products jump by 33%. On the flip side, the hotel industry knows all too well the cost of noise. For example, research by ReviewPro found that noise was the most frequent complaint from hotel guests, topping the charts in most cities they studied, including London.
With so many developments in the pipeline for London, now is the time to ensure that as we deliver on volume, we also deliver on quality – creating buildings that support our health and well-being. In the words of Deputy Mayor James Murray, we must find a way to balance the vibrancy of the city with the need for peace and quiet.
We will shortly be publishing a Noise White Paper – to receive a copy, please email us.
ROCKWOOL has a long-standing relationship with the Noise Abatement Society, which runs the Quiet Mark scheme for products and properties. For more information, please click here.