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Zero Energy Buildings and Sound Insulation

End users have expectations from architectural structures, such as being economical, resistant to external effects, aesthetic and functional, in accordance with the intended use. All buildings should be able to offer a comfortable living/using space to their users due to their functions. The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to comfort is acoustic comfort. In addition to these expectations, the new expectation of the whole world in order to ensure a sustainable future; It is the construction of structures that consume very low amounts of energy and can meet this energy need preferably with renewable resources without harming the nature.


Buildings are ready for use after the design and construction stages. While minimizing energy consumption is aimed during the use phase of the buildings, the use of natural resources at the least level in building production by preferring recycled materials during the construction phase is an important phenomenon that also serves the concept of Zero Energy Building during the construction phase.


Zero Energy Building is an approach that has become widespread and will be more demanded in the coming years, considering the use of recycled materials in buildings and acoustic concepts together, providing acoustic comfort by using recycled materials in buildings. However, Acoustics is a science and architectural acoustic solutions is a specialty. The use of recycled materials in order to provide acoustic comfort in buildings should be within the framework of scientific rules.

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The concept of acoustics in architecture is examined under two main headings; Volume Acoustics, Building Acoustics.

1- Volume Acoustics

The aim in volume acoustics is to increase the quality of the sound heard. In order to provide acoustic comfort in all halls such as theatre halls, concert halls, conference halls, religious places where the audience is located and / or in the community bar such as dining halls, offices, volume acoustics studies are carried out to deliver quality sound to the listener or to eliminate reverberations that may cause discomfort in the space. Volume acoustics design is made by evaluating many variables such as:


  • Intended use of the volume,

  • Size of volume,

  • Formation of the volume (architectural design),

  • Number of audience,

  • Position of audience,

  • Properties of the materials used on the surface (surface roughness, pore structure, absorptive / reflective properties, etc.)


The purpose of use of the volume is the most important factor that determines the evaluation criteria that control the level of acoustic comfort and the most appropriate range for these evaluation criteria.


2- Building Acoustics

Building acoustics is the branch of acoustics that examines the minimization of unwanted sounds that may come from the neighbouring areas we live in. Since it differs in its evaluation and solution, it is evaluated under two headings as airborne sound insulation and impact sound insulation.

2.1- Airborne Sound Insulation

It examines the minimization of the transmission of sounds such as speech sound, music sound, television sound to the upside-down and side areas. In order to make airborne sound insulation, the airborne sound insulation performance (Rw) of the partition element must be high. The performance of the section can be brought to the desired level by using heavy and flexible barriers and fibrous materials in accordance with the mass - spring - mass principle. The insulation provided by a partition element against airborne sounds in the field environment depends on some properties of the partition element, such as;


  • Unit area mass (Heavy material use increases performance)

  • Area,

  • Flexibility, (Flexible material use improves performance, especially at bass frequencies)

  • Thickness,

  • Unit area masses and airborne sound insulation performance of other building elements which are connected,

  • Bounding types with other building elements (flexible/rigid)

  • The volume of the receiving room (Performance increases as the receiving chambers volume increases).


2.2- Impact Sound Insulation

Examines the sound heard especially in the volume just below the floor where the impact occurs due to the impact on the floor such as the sound of heel, running sound, and falling objects. In impact sound insulation, the sound heard in the receiver room is examined. For impact sound insulation, floating floor application between screed and reinforced concrete using a suitable membrane is mandatory in many situations. The level of impact sound heard in the receiver room depends on:


  • Floors;

    • Unit area mass, (As the mass increases, the sound heard from the lower floor decreases, the performance increases)

    • Area,

    • Thickness,

    • The masses of the other building elements to which it is connected and the airborne sound insulation performance,

    • Bounding types with other building elements (flexible/rigid)

  • Under screed membranes;

    • Dynamic stiffness, (The performance of the membrane with low dynamic stiffness is higher)

    • Impact sound insulation value to laboratory measurement,

    • Pressure creep in the membrane, (A very low 10-year pressure creep indicates long-term performance. Around 5% -7% is ideal)

  • unit area mass of floating floor (As the mass increases, the sound heard from the lower floor decreases, the performance increases),

  • The volume of the receiving room

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