Our post-completion research demonstrates the significant impact that opening windows even a small amount can have on internal noise levels. Once they are open, increasing the width that the windows are open have an almost imperceptible difference in noise levels, despite offering the potential for a vast improvement in ventilation levels.
Balancing window openability for acoustics, ventilation and overheating is imperative for high quality development and resident comfort.
The answer isn’t as simple as windows open or closed. The extent of the how much windows can be opened has a great impact on natural ventilation, cooling and noise levels within the dwellings.
While each site needs to be considered individually, our findings indicate that on average the internal noise levels increased by 11dB with windows open on restrictors compared with windows closed. When windows are then taken off the restrictors and opened to their maximum there is a further increase of 5dB.
These figures can be used against the Acoustic Ventilation and Overheating Residential Design Guide published by the ANC to determine a noise level risk and develop a collaborative Acoustic, Ventilation and Overheating strategy.
This is an area we are continuing to research as we believe this is an important topic which could positively impact the internal environment if considered and designed correctly.