New Delhi, Dec 30 (UiTV/IANS) – A home is viewed as a calm haven-an escape from the urban clamour-in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the modern world. However, the crowded cityscape offers little room for quiet areas for most residences, making noise pollution a present-day problem. Technically sound construction and thoughtful detailing can reduce the nuisance of city noise and restore a home’s tranquil environment.
Bring in the shades
The openings in a space are the route to noise pollution, which is why window shades matter the most. A thoughtful selection of shades in wood or bamboo can restrict the outdoor noise effectively, given the material properties such as thickness and density. On the other hand, light-hued or sheer linen variants can come out as options for low-lit spaces as they absorb sound restricting echoes and reverbrations, without restricting the daylight. Irrespective of the material choices, where kinetic louvres are known to offer partial insulation, while the roll down shutters offer better noise reduction bringing the focus to the role of enclosures in sound insulation.
Soften the floors
Floors that get the maximum footfall in a space become the major source of noise pollution in it. A luxuriant choice of carpet flooring can come out as an end-to-end solution that absorbs sounds at varying levels depending on its material selection-where vinyl floors offer a sound reduction of upto 20dB or those of woven fibre absorb almost all the sound. In more economical designs, these carpets can be incorporated as overlays such as rugs or selectively laid out in high-traffic zones along with surfaces such as hardwood and save it from the noise generated within a space.
Layer the walls
The social high-rise housing structures have made walls play a major role in noise pollution from the immediate surroundings. Wall coverings are introduced to add a layer of insulation to the spatial expanse-acoustic wall panels are the go-to choice for imperforate insulation. They can be as extensive as textured foam surfaces layering the entire wall or be a more appealing addition as a solid fabric panelling posing as a feature element on the wall. Greener options like a living wall or a vertical garden as also be opted for, to take up landscaping as an approach to insulation.
Create a buffer
Plants, by nature, are a natural sound buffer. A thoughtful lineup of these green pockets along the windows or an independent balcony garden can filter the outdoor noise, while a statement planter or an extravagant terrarium on the indoors can uphold the silence by absorbing sound. In parallel, other landscape features such as water fountains and indoor cascades can also create a buffer with water as a sound-absorbing element. Landscaping concepts like zen gardens can also create quiet corners within a home and create an escape from the cacophony.
Go with closed layouts
Noise pollution works with simpler rules-sound production and sound reflection. An enclosed space with solid walls or partitions delimits both of the above, making a space less noisy and more definitive. It is also notable that clustered plans have better performance compared to grid plans since the sound is dispersed in multiple directions in such spaces. The semi-open anti-spaces introduced in the midst can also adapt to the same with added layers such as closed fencing or railing, with wood posts, vinyl boards or glass panels depending on the aesthetic taste of the space.
Plan an energy-efficient home
Energy-efficient systems in homes have taken a more desirable turn with quieter appliances and smarter systems that work on minimal energy consumption. Such integrations to homes have brought down the indoor noise levels by a large margin, making noise pollution not only manageable but a rising call for sustainability, all across.
(Punam Kalra, Interior Designer & Creative Director, I’m The Centre For Applied Arts)