ADVANCED CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL
for Residential Units
How might we reduce noise from the traffic outside, while maintaining good natural ventilation in residential units?
Challenge Statement Owner
Background and Current Practice
In a dense country like Singapore, it is common for residential developments to be located near land traffic noise sources, such as major arterial roads, expressways, and MRT tracks.
Under the National Environmental Agency’s (NEA) guidelines of land traffic Noise Impact Assessment (NIA), the indoor noise level for new residential developments must not exceed 57dBA (Leq 1 hr) under natural ventilation. Natural ventilation has to be provided by means of one or more openable windows or other openings with an aggregate area of not less than 5% of the floor area of the room or space required to be ventilated.
When faced with noise-prone residential developments, developers fulfil the above guidelines in the following ways:
Developers adopt layouts that locate facilities such as car parks on plots closest to noise sources, and residential units far away from the noise sources.
If the above is not feasible, windows or the glass facade are designed to avoid directly facing the noise sources, and windows facing noise sources are double glazed. Developers will also work with acoustic consultants to establish the minimum size of windows that can meet both the noise and ventilation requirements when opened at 30 degrees, in order to be code compliant.
If the above is not sufficient, noise barriers are installed between the transmission path from the noise source to the residential units.
The methods above restrict design and could impact the marketability of the development. If the planned mitigation is found to be insufficient during post-construction testing, developers can only resort to erecting noise barriers at the window area. The noise barriers are often not aesthetically pleasing for potential buyers.
Opportunities and Key Challenges
We are interested in solutions that can be used to reduce the noise from land traffic noise sources. The solution could be installed at windows or openings to absorb, deflect or cancel incoming sound waves, while allowing for natural ventilation. It is important that the solution looks aesthetically pleasing, so that it does not deter potential buyers. It is also important that the solution does not completely obstruct the outside view.
If the solution adopts active noise-cancelling technology, it would need to be designed for large-scale integration with the building or compound, and consider long-term sustainability factors, such as power and maintenance requirements.