Sirens at three O'clock in the morning and drafts coming from somewhere, windows can be the bane of an otherwise beautiful house. With new advances in the technology behind them, noise reduction windows have become far more economically viable, and have shown clear signs of reducing not only noise, but energy consumption.
There are plenty of treatments that you can add to your windows in the form of films, and noise reducing curtains in order to block out the racket from the street. The thing is that these only offer stop gap solutions; no one wants to be sat inside on a sunny day with the curtains drawn, just to stop the sound of cars entering their house. The best, long term and all-round solution is to replace the windows themselves.
So how do they work? Sound travels in a pressure wave, so when it hits a window pane it causes the glass to reverberate. When both panes (in a double glazed window) are the same thickness, they reverberate at the same frequency and thereby only go some way to ensuring noise reduction. When the panes are of a different thickness, the glass will vibrate at different frequencies, thereby further distorting the noise level and preventing sound pollution in your home.
Buying these windows can be a confusing process, as many companies offer a range of products and will amboozle you with jargon and slogans. One issue that may be thrown up is the benefits of triple vs. double glazing. Whilst it's obvious that single glazing loses out to double, is the same true for three panes? The simple answer is no, not always. If the double paned windows offer a complete air tight seal, then the triples cannot improve upon this. The next issue which arises is thermal insulation. Whilst three panes can offer greater insulation, double glazed windows will offer the same prevention of heat loss if:
- They are coated the panes are coated in heat-efficient coverings.
- Buffered by more energy efficient gases between each sheet of glass.
- The pane-spacers contain no metal.
And as such the doubles may in fact offer greater thermal insulation. If, however, your greatest concern in the amount of noise entering and leaving your house then triple glazed windows may in fact be the way to go. The thing to pay attention to in this case is the STC (Sound Transmission Class) of the window, where single pane glass offers a typical value of 27 on the STC scale, whereas soundproof windows over a dual pane window deliver a typical value of 40DB.
Furthermore, noise reduction windows ought to be evaluated in regards to their energy efficiency. With reports confirming that you can save up to £170 a year on energy bills, windows with a rating of B or higher are a must have. This can not only lead to extra money in your bank at the end of the year, but can offset your carbon footprint by, on average, 680kg every 365 days.
As anyone living close to central London, a main road or an airport will tell you, noise pollution is a serious issue. It's been proven to cause hypertension and the sleep prevention it causes can spill out into your life as levels in concentration begin to dip. That aside it can be particularly annoying when you're trying to watch a film, or read a book as the honks of traffic and grumbling engines permeate the otherwise peaceful calm of your home.
Whilst it's one option to move to the woods, miles from any form of noise or society, the less drastic choice is to install acoustic glass, which will keep the noise outside and peace and quiet in.
At acceptable levels, outside noise often reaches around 35 decibels. Traffic can cause a dramatic increase in noise levels and reach around 70 dBs; Living under a flight path can mean excesses of 91 dBs, whilst near landing aircraft noise pollution can spike to well over 100.
In some cases the installation of acoustic glass can cut noise disturbance in half, meaning that incessant drawl of cars needn't echo through your house any more.
How does acoustic glass work?
Noise is a pressure wave that passes through the air. What acoustic glass does is effectively dampen the strength of this wave, preventing it passing into or our of your house. It does this by employing a separate layer between the two panes.
Utilising Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB), the two sheets of glazing are laminated together, giving them the appearance of being a single pane. This layer of PVB acts as an acoustic membrane, absorbing sound energy and preventing the vibrations of the sound wave actually passing through the glass. As a result, most of the sound is reflected back away from the glass, either back into your property, or kept out on the street.
The noise reduction experienced will further depend upon the pitch of the sound, though under normal circumstances the reduction can be dramatic in regards to traffic, aircraft and rail noise.
However, it's not just the acoustic glass that is required for effective noise reduction. Many ill fitting window frames contribute significantly to intrusive noise disturbance. In fact a gap around the window frame equal to merely 1% of the actual frame size can allow a not insignificant 10 dBs into your property.
The £344M expansion of London City Airport has been given the green light from Ministers, leading to residents growing increasingly distressed at the prospect of further noise pollution in a City where peace and quiet are a hard won luxury.
Flight paths leaving from densely populated Newham already cover large parts of North East and South London, and bring with them unwelcome levels of noise pollution. The risks these disturbances carry - including stress and weight problems - are well documented. Many residents living under flight paths feel that the noise is adversely affecting their wellbeing, with flights already leaving in the early morning.
The Government has said the airport will provide a "generous" compensation package to local residents affected by increased air traffic. With 80,000 flights a year set to increase by 30,000 any and all help will be appreciated at a time when people have never been more conscious of how environmental factors impact on their daily lives.
The World Health Organisation recommends that noise levels should be less than 35db in classrooms to allow good teaching and learning conditions and under 40db outside of a bedroom overnight to prevent adverse health effects from night noise. Yet residents working alongside University College London have measured decibel readings more than double safe levels. Which should be a serious concern for local residents.
For large parts of the City, the reality will be an increase in noise, one of the stressors that can keep them from enjoying the comfortable home life they strive for.
The immediate area can expect investment in infrastructure, roads and buses, which should offset some of the damage to road surfaces that a high frequency of lorries and machinery will inevitably bring. What is harder to account for is the very real costs that residents will face from the noise pollution this work and traffic will cause until work finishes, on current estimates in 2019.
It is worth remembering that noise accounts for most of the complaints that local councils and the Environment Agency receive about environmental pollution, and is a major source of stress. While best practical means to reduce noise will be implemented during work, as always the reality will be disturbances for residents of the area, with noisy works starting at 8am and traffic increasing before this time.
Long term effects will be more extensive as much of the North East of London can expect a significant increase in flight volume with a decreased quality in sleep.
We are currently offering free consultations for clients in the area who are likely to be affected by the airport expansion. If that’s you, get in touch and let’s book you in!
It can be a terrible pain to move into a new home and find out that just around the corner is a late night bar, or a road that doesn't quite down until 4 in the morning, but you don't have to suffer in silence (or the lack thereof).
We often have clients inquiring as to what benefits they can expect from installing acoustic insulation windows in their property, and whether it is actually worth them doing.
The simple answer is that if you are experiencing a great deal of noise in your property, it is absolutely beneficial for you, though depending upon the extent of the problem the solution can vary.
What are the Solutions?
The two basic options available are:
Secondary Glazing units
These are used in properties where there may be an issue with noise insulation but it isn't a big enough problem to require a whole overhaul of the window unit.
-Mostly for small amounts of noise traffic/social environment.
Acoustic Insulation Windows
-This system is a lot more expensive and requires a complete overhaul of the windows units in your home.
-Used when houses suffer from a great deal of traffic/overhead aircraft/industrial processes.
What Difference Will I Hear?
With either solution there will be a noticeable reduction in ambient sound getting into your property. With the installation of acoustic insulation windows you will see the most dramatic difference of over 30 dB
Put it like this:
1dB is an unnoticeable reduction in noise levels.
5 dB represents a noticeable reduction in noise.
10 dB is double a reduction in sound disturbances.
Therefore with the installation of sound proofing glass and window frames you will encounter only a sixth of noise that you previously would have. An truly startling reduction.
What Other Benefits Will I See?
By default these systems will also help with heat insulation which can produce a marked decrease in your heating bill all year round.
The most reported difference, however, is that many people find themselves feeling a lot better having been able to relax at home and getting a night of undisturbed sleep. Children and babies aren't woken up and you'll save yourself from the pains of crushing a pillow over your ears at night.
The addition of these windows will also add value to your property, plus they are available in new and updated styles that will enhance your home's aesthetic.
All in all, if the noise of your street or local environment is keeping you up at night, then acoustic insulation can provide you with very perceptible benefits.
Image by Arpringstone
It's that old question, 'when a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?' Baffler of generations, the simple answer is yes. Yes it does. The more complicated answer is no. No it does not.
Noise is the reception of pressure waves by a recording device or an instrument like your ears. If nothing is there to hear it, then there's no sound being produced, just a pressure wave. Ok, so perhaps we're becoming a little too esoteric here, but in our line of work it is interesting to consider how is created, received and processed, so that we can ensure the best noise reduction through our products.
One thing to consider is the power of the sound wave and how we quantify it. Our ears can hear the tinny whine of a mosquito passing by our ears at the same time as we can register a jet plane 30,000 feet over head.
This is because the pressure wave created by the plane's engines is around 1 billion times more powerful than the former. Now, in order to make this an understandable figure, the decibel scale was created to simplify these huge figures into chunks we can understand.
Using the decibel system, the smallest audible sound is measured at 0 dB. Following this, a sound that registers at 10 dB is ten times more powerful. Consider this to be the sound of your breathing. Then a sound of 20 dB is 100 times more powerful than one of 0 dB.
The decibel scale is a logarithmic system. For every incremental factor of 10 dB, the power of the sound wave increases exponentially, by a multiple of ten. So it follows that at 30 dB, you are experiencing a noise that is 1,000 times more powerful than the smallest audible sound.
A simple way of understanding this is to look at examples of common noises and their place on the decibel scale.
- 0 dB threshold of hearing
- 10 dB barely audible breathing
- 30 dB a whisper in a quiet space at 6''
- 60 dB a normal conversation
- 80 dB average city traffic
- 88 dB trains at 25 ft.
- 105 dB a jet plane 100 ft overhead.
What's important to understand is that the leap between each of these examples is far greater than the previous. The difference between a whisper and a normal conversation is far smaller than the difference between a normal conversation and city traffic.
This becomes interesting to us when we consider how to implement noise reduction through our windows' designs. Using a system that effectively dampens the pressure wave of the noise, we can create a 30 dB differential.
Think about it like this. If average city traffic noise when you're on the street is around 80 dB, when stood behind one of our windows this is reduced down to around 55 dB – quieter than an average conversation.
So the answer to the question is, 'if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?'
Well the answer is no, not if you're stood behind one of our noise reduction windows.
Photo by thewolf
I'm sure you've been plagued for years by cold callers offering you exclusive double glazing deals, or accosted by salesmen as you leave the supermarket with you weekly shop. It's become such an issue now, that when people think of double glazing, it's synonymous with pushy sales techniques and deals that quite frankly seem too good to be true.
Well, we want to change that perception. At Hugo Carter we pride ourselves on finding the best solution for each individual client. That's why all of our prospective customers get a free quote and evaluation, so that we can ensure we are doing our best for them.
With a great deal of packages available, it's also worth knowing what your options are before you buy. So here's a brief run-down of what you can expect from installing new double glazing systems in your home.
Heat Insulation From Double Glazing
Whether you have sash or casement windows, the benefits of installing double glazing are instantly recognisable in regards to the ambient temperature of your property. Where single glazed units will allow heat to flood out of your property, double glazing's two frame system creates a barrier which prevents such drastic loss. Translated into money saved, A-rated double glazing (the best available) can save £400 or more on your yearly bill.
That's a pretty good return when moving into a new family home, where savings can reach around £8,211 over a 20 year period in a semi detached property. This is also calculated to save 22 tonnes of Carbon dioxide over the same period of time. For a more detailed estimation of what it could save on your property try out this energy saving calculator.
Acoustic Insulation From Double Glazing
Aside from keeping you warm in the winter, double glazing's biggest bonus is the sound insulation that it provides.
We've found that many people will move into their new properties, only to find out that there's a late night club down the road, or air traffic rotating overhead. It's an unbearable nuisance for anyone, not least those with small children.
In most cases where noise pollution is a minimal disturbance, outweighed by the need to keep the heat in, our standard double glazed window units are what we'd suggest.
Though simple double glazing units can offer noticeable reductions in noise pollution when compared to their single glazed competitors, the set up of standard units generally don't offer the best the market can offer.
Instead, when noise pollution is a real nuisance, we suggest installing noise reduction windows, which offer far greater acoustic insulation. By using asymmetrically thick panes of glass, the sound waves are mitigated a great deal more than in systems where the panes of glass are of the same thickness. To find out more about the benefits of different double glazing installation packages, give us a call!
Image by Alan Stanton
Soundproofing is the practice of making your property resistant to the often annoying noise pollution that the city invariably offers every residence. There are a few things that you can do to soundproof your home - one of which we can help you with!
What Can Be Done To Soundproof A Property?
Rather simply, the first thing you can do is create more space between you and the noise source. Of course, relocating your property is practically paradoxical and there’s no way that you can increase the distance without selling your home or transplanting your house somewhere else.
The second factor that increase the soundproofing of a building is mass. Like space above, all that’s required is that you add more mass to your building, like increasing the size of your walls. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
The third thing? Dampening. This is where you force the sound to travel through different materials which each have a different thicknesses. Effectively making the sound work harder, causing it to lose energy and dissipate, this is where Hugo Carter can step in.
You also have the option of anti-noise devices that produce a sound which will effectively cancel out the unwanted noise pollution in your property. Unfortunately these are only really available as headphones at the moment.
So before you move your home, build another house around your existing one or wear noise cancelling headphones whilst you nod off at night, you’re best off looking into noise dampening as a solution to soundproofing.
Acoustic Dampening With Windows
Windows will be built specific to the types of noise pollution that your property suffers from. Using the natural resonance of different thicknesses of glass, manufacturers can create extremely effective soundproof windows that will reduce noise pollution dramatically. More in our brochure below
In the past this meant installing things like secondary glazing, but nowadays acoustic glass comes at practically the same thickness as your standard set of double glazing, meaning that you can effectively guarantee soundproof windows for any kind of design, from casement to sash, to those in conservation areas or those in new builds.
To read more about the mechanics of soundproofing your windows click here.
Image by brianac37
Location, schools, gardens, space, condition—all of these factors are potential deal breakers when it comes to selling a house. While most sellers are aware of the major factors that can sway a deal, there are many hidden factors that may cause potential buyers to back off.
Do noisy neighbours really put people off buying your house? Or do poor energy ratings turn people away more? We take a look at a recent Populus Survey conducted by Selling Up to see what issues do indeed turn buyers off or encouraged them to submit a reduced offer.
Top Deal Breakers
The survey revealed that the following 5 factors were high on the list of issues that put people off buying a property. Noisy neighbour concerns ended up on top of the list, with 70% of people saying this would be a concern.
It seems that no matter how appealing a house may be, if there is any signs of anti-social behaviour from neighbours, it is likely to send potential buyers running.
Noisy Neighbours 70%
Evidence of pests 44%
Sellers attitude 42%
Noise of aeroplanes 41%
Burglary risks 37%
Other factors include overlooking a cemetery, bad attitude of the estate agent and lack of storage. Understanding these issues can support you in your sale, as you can look to rule out some of these factors as much as possible.
As a seller, it is important to look at how you can reduce the chances of potential buyers being put off once they visit your property. Though something like noise pollution may seem difficult to combat, taking measures such as installing noise reduction windows can make a big difference.
Causations of buyers lowering their offer
The following factors came out as the top reasons why potential buyers would reduce their offer but would not necessarily put them off. Poor energy ratings appeared to be the top cause for concern, with 59% of people saying they would consider a reduced offer rather than be put off altogether.
Poor energy ratings 59%
Out of date kitchen/bathroom 57%
Poor quality/in need of heavy-duty cleaning 55%
Lack of storage 44%
Messy garden 42%
It seems that being in an age where lots of people are environmentally friendly and cost-efficient, sellers need to seriously consider these factors.
Other factors to prompt reduce bids included an unlucky number 13 door and somebody dying in the property. 15% of people said that an embarrassing street name would put them off, which goes to show that sometimes things are out of our control when it comes to selling a property.
Why we all have dreams of the perfect house, in reality, we know that we will need to compromise at some point or another. While we may settle for having to install a new kitchen or fumigating the house before we move in, it seems that some things are a definite no-no.
This SellingUp survey demonstrated the importance to factor in everything that could potentially put off a buyer, so that you can set to alleviate some of the concerns of potential buyers.
Remember that noisy neighbours was on top of the list, so seriously considering installing noise reduction windows may save you a lot of time when it comes to selling your home. Do not overlook this issue.
Our line of bespoke soundproof windows is one of our most popular especially with our London based clients who are often kept awake by overhead planes, traffic or nightlife. Whilst it’s great to live as close to the city as possible, the reality of noise pollution is a genuine struggle and we’re delighted we can help by installing a total solution.
However, we do get a lot of inquiries from people asking just how much of a difference soundproof windows make. The fact is that noise and sound levels are a complicated science based on a logarithmic scale which can be really quite confusing if you’re not mathematically minded. So the question is, what difference can you expect from installing soundproof windows?
Measured in decibels, sound is a pressure wave that propagates through the air. Don’t worry, this is as scientific as we’re going. The more power in the wave, the louder the sound.
The decibel scale, like the richter scale, increases as a multiple ten. If you say a sound of 10 dB has a power value of 10, a sound of 20 dB has a power value of a 100 - it follows that a noise of 30 dB has a power value of 1,000.
Still a little confused? Our noise reduction explanation below should help:
As you can see from our soundproof windows infographic, installing our total solution guarantees a whopping reduction in noise pollution of at least 1000%, often offering far greater reduction based upon the bespoke system installed for your property.
There’s not really any better way to demonstrate the effectiveness of noise reduction windows than to show them in action, so have a quick look at the video below in order to truly understand the effects of soundproof windows on a busy London street.
Staggering, isn’t it? The hum drum of inner city life becomes inaudible and a stillness permeates through the property. If you suffer from the nuisance of noise pollution we can genuinely say that there isn’t a better product around to deal with the problem.
If you’re interested in finding out more, get in touch with us and we’ll arrange a free consultation!
Also, why not download a FREE copy of our catalogue by simply clicking on the link below!
Image by Arpingstone
What Are Soundproof Windows?
A revelation in noise reduction, soundproof windows are the total solution to the problem of noise pollution in London. Tackling every aspect of intrusive noise, soundproof windows utilise the following in order to make your property peaceful and serene:
laminated glass to dull sound waves
the space between panes is optimised to reduce noise
timber frames are specifically designed in order to prevent noise pollution
secure fittings ensure there are no gaps in the frames/no reverberations
With a totally scientific approach to preventing unwanted noise in your property from the very beginnings of design, their sole purpose is to ensure that there is no sound penetrating from the outside world.
How Does Secondary Glazing Work?
A solution for noise reduction, secondary glazing is a system that can be put in place in almost all properties and most window designs. Fitting into the original frame design, secondary glazing solutions effectively just place a secondary window frame unit within the property in order to create another barrier between the sounds of the world outside.
Creating another barrier helps to dampen the sound waves, especially when the thickness of the secondary glazing unit is different to that of the original units, secondary glazing basically just adds a layer of sound insulation.
Soundproof Windows Vs Secondary Glazing
In order to give you the best overview of the products, we’ve laid out the most important factors to consider and how each solution fares in regards to not only sound proofing but other factors too.
The most important factor first. Soundproof windows provide better sound reduction. Hands down. Designed from the ground up to reduce sound, and tailored to the individual property’s specific noise problem and providing a holistic solution, quite frankly there isn’t a better solution for reducing intrusive sound.
That said, secondary glazing does provide noise reduction. It will absolutely noticeably make your property quieter, just not to the same degree that soundproof windows can.
Installation Of Noise Reduction Windows
Soundproof windows are a bit messy in this regard. You will need to entirely replace your original window frames which is a fairly long process. That said, employing a proper soundproof windows company will mean that the job can be completed in only a few hours (depending upon the size of the project, of course).
On the other hand, secondary glazing units can often be put in place on your own. This will take as long as you take over it, but alternatively there are a wealth of companies which will come and install their own secondary glazing units at your property. This means you get to keep your original windows in; no mess, no crew required if you don’t want them.
Of course, installing yourself does mean that you can get things wrong and nullify their effects, and the benefits of hiring an established firm will outweigh the few pounds you will save. And so we come onto…
The Cost of Soundproof Windows Vs The Cost Of Secondary Glazing Units
No prizes for guessing what wins out here. Well, ‘wins’ is perhaps the wrong word. Secondary glazing units are far cheaper than the former, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
If you’re on a shoestring budget and have a heinous problem with noise pollution which is keeping you awake at night, then secondary glazing will most certainly help and will most certainly reduce noise. Even more so if you decide to install the secondary panes yourself.
Soundproof windows are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They are expensive solutions, but that’s clearly not a bad thing. They are expensive because they provide the best solution possible; they are tailor made for your property. In fact, they will actually add value to your house because it means that those who you may sell it on to will not have to install the windows themselves!
Thankfully both soundproof windows and secondary glazing units will offer you a degree of thermal insulation. Hooray!
Creating an additional barrier between your inner sanctum and the world outside, secondary glazing creates another buffer between cold air, reducing heat loss through the window panes themselves.
Soundproof windows, due to their very nature; the fact that every single element of the frames are insulated from any possible gaps in their frames, offer far greater thermal insulation than secondary glazing.
In fact, soundproof windows offer double the thermal efficiency of second glazed units. Double… which means double the savings on your bill too!
Issues With Soundproof Windows
The main issue with soundproof windows is that quite often they will require planning permission due to the radical nature of the transition. In conservation areas this can be even more of a headache due to the need for like for like replacement windows, though expert manufacturers can create solutions which will pass even the strictest of local councils.
Issues With Secondary Glazing
Cleaning secondary glazing units is rather a pain. You effectively have to clean two separate window units and this can be kind of awkward depending upon the space you have.
Due to their design, secondary glazing often caused a great deal of condensation on the primary glazing unit. This is another pain to wipe down due to the fact that you have a sheet of glass in the way.
DIY units are often not sealed very well which means that they become pretty much redundant.
The Conclusion. Which Is Best?
Well, quite frankly it depends upon your circumstances. If you don’t have the budget to replace the windows in your property then secondary glazing will go some of the way to reduce noise pollution as well as improve thermal efficiency.
If you do have the budget, you simply have to install soundproof windows. They add value to your property and provide a total, lasting and holistic solution to the problem. They will reduce noise pollution far more than secondary glazing and look far more elegant. Secondary glazing encroaches into your room whereas soundproof window frames will fit snugly within the aesthetic of your property and look gorgeous.
Download Free Noise Reduction Brochure
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Most of us who have ever bought or sold a house will tell you, that the major deal breakers when it comes to clinching a sale are obvious - think location, space, condition, transport links, crime, local schools and so on.
There are, however, many hidden factors that could be putting buyers off certain properties. You don't need to worry though, as there are steps available that you can take to reduce the factors that are impacting your sale.
SellingUp has conducted an exclusive survey with Populus, one of the UK’s leading market research firms. In the survey they asked 1000 people to give insight into what they consider to be the key factors that put them off buying a house. These are listed below.
Top Concerns When Buying Properties
With a recent push to promote green living, people are more eco-conscious than you may think. Quite a lot of them are genuinely concerned about energy efficient ratings. This is shown in the fact that 36% of those who were surveyed said that a poor energy efficient rating would lead them to ask for thousands of pounds to be slashed off the asking price.
It was also found that 16% would automatically withdraw interest. However one of the most shocking findings was the effect that noise pollution had on a buyers decision on whether or not to proceed with purchasing the house.
The survey also revealed that the following issues would cause them to alter their bid or pull the ply on their bid altogether:
• Noisy Neighbours
• Noise pollution
• Aeroplane noise pollution
• Poor/unreliable phone signal
• Extremely dirty and in need of deep cleaning
• Evidence of pets
• Embarrassing street name
• Number 13 door
• Risk of burglary
• Lack of storage
• Messy garden
• Out of date kitchen and bathroom
• Attitude of seller
• Death in the house
The Rising Concern About Noise Pollution
One of the rising concerns that people have, particularly for people in London and other major cities, is the effect that noise pollution has on their day-to-day lives. There are even campaigners fighting against the expansion of the UK’s biggest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.
The evidence in the survey demonstrates this, as there were 41% of people who took part that believed noise from aeroplanes would make them lose interest or withdraw their offer.
More than over two-thirds of participants would also lose interest or withdraw their offer if they lived near noisy neighbours. This is understandable as if the area is noise polluted the people will most likely have to invest in some noise pollution solutions.
The same has to be said for those who live near tube stations, as there is an increasing amount of noise due to the expansion of train times on the London tube, as well as in other major cities. Residents living near the ‘night tube’ stations are already looking at ways to invest in noise reduction, and it is a serious concern when it comes to their ability to sell their house.
Solutions, such as triple glazing and noise reduction walls can ensure that your house still sells at its guide price. These solutions would essentially negate the buyers concerns about vibrations from the noise outside disturbing the time they spend time at their homes.
This survey carried out by SellingUp clearly shows that when it comes to investing in property, you really do have to think beyond the obvious factors like location and size. Considering all of the possible downsides to living in the property and the likely future will also impact on resale.
London’s businesses, night-workers and party goers are welcoming the introduction of the much talked about night tube. It will see parts of the Underground running a 24/7 service. Residents surrounding the 5 lines, however, are becoming increasingly worried about night tube noise disturbances.
After a long day at the office we all want to get home for a little rest and relaxation. Therefore it should be of no surprise that noise pollution can be very annoying, especially for those in the heart of the busiest sections of the underground.
In fact during 2008, a survey carried out amongst Westminster residents showed that 6% of people felt that the noise pollution from the tube had a detrimental effect on their health and overall well being.
It is also important to note that valuable evidence has proven that noise pollution has a detrimental effect on our overall physical and mental health. Some research even indicates that it is linked to strokes and cardiovascular disease.
With the introduction of the night tube we can expect 6% more people to be greatly affected; a large swathe of North and North West London whose concerns have real value and should be taken extremely seriously.
How the Night Tube Creates Noise
The number of trains and the speed at which they travel are the factors which determine the amount of noise pollution produced. Tube noise is created by a low frequency that arises from the movement of air, which is forced through the tunnels, and also the sounds emitted from the train wheels on the tracks.
It is this low-frequency vibration that we feel when windows rattle or noise vibrates through our walls. During the daytime this noise is usually masked by background noise from TV’s, radios and people just going about their day to day business, so it isn’t as noticeable.
However, what is experienced during the night is very different. With less background noise, as soon as we put our head on our pillows noise pollution is much more audible, and it is likely to prevent us from getting the sleep that we need.
It is predicted that in areas of the underground, which are the most popular, such as the Victoria area, will suffer a lot more.
Noise Disturbance Solutions
Concerned residents are looking to their local councils and Transport for London for support in noise solutions, whilst increasingly searching for ways to soundproof their houses. Concreting floors (rather than keeping simple timber frames) can be very helpful in combatting the vibrations coming from underground, as will ‘floating walls’.
A simpler solution is to use noise reduction glass that can reduce noise pollution by between 35-55 dB. Noise reduction windows and secondary glazing are appealing options for residents, who are looking to combat the night tube noise disturbances that will be inevitable, in a city that seemingly never sleeps.
Image By Hotblack
News of a London night tube service is welcome news to many, as it will cut down journey times for night workers and party goers, as well as boosting the city’s economy. The night service will be able to support London’s 24-hour lifestyle, by allowing travellers access to trains throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays, on the 5 lines: Victoria, Central, Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines.
Independent research by Volterra has shown that - the project will boost London’s economy by £360 million, while also reducing the average travel time at night by 20 minutes. With Londoners already using the tube past 10 pm on a Friday and Saturday night, which is 70% more than they did in 2000, the scheme is sure to be a success. Transport for London has said:
"Work is progressing to identify potential noise issues across the Night Tube network, and London Underground (LU) is taking steps to address noise levels that are considered unsatisfactory.” (BBC)
What people think of the current Night Tube noise
Despite the excitement experienced by many, there are some residents that are in fear of the increase in noise that will occur during the night. With the tube already running between 5am and 1am, some people have seen an increase in the noise within the past few years, due to the recent replacement of wooden sleepers to concrete ones, and the need for tracks to be upgraded.
Transport for London have committed to reducing night tube noise as much as possible. They have also stated that they will be carrying out grinding work when necessary.
The impact of the noise on residents
Despite these assurances, residents in areas around the 5 lines are understandably concerned, about the impact the noise will have on their lives. The areas that are expected to be most affected are Woodford (Central Line), Glenworth Street and Westminster (Jubilee Line), and Kensington (Piccadilly line between Earls Court and Gloucester Road).
One Kensington resident is concerned about how the night tube noise will affect the quality of her life, saying:
“It’s detrimental to my health. I’m kept awake. I’m only able to sleep when I’m exhausted and it’s not a good quality sleep. It’s having a detrimental impact on my life.” (Get West London)
Residents are calling for more support from TFL. They are also looking at ways in which they can reduce noise pollution in their homes, so that the night tube does not affect their overall health and wellbeing.
It is important to consider each and every person that is involved in this situation, after all a person’s home is their sanctuary. Without a doubt, their home definitely be as relaxing as possible without having to worry of a noisy Night Tube disturbing the peace.
Find out about noise reduction solutions here.
Hugo Carter have spent years on R&D, tweaking, re-tweaking and re-re-tweaking our designs in order to offer the best noise reduction value possible. It’s taken us 2 years to shut out an extra 2dB on our sash windows alone.
One way we have achieved this is through sound imaging in order to pinpoint where precisely low frequency noise was penetrating. Using this imaging technique we were able to understand where exactly noises of a frequency between 20-40Hz were managing to get through - an issue we managed to remedy through strategic damper placement.
Sorama - Visualising Sound & Vibrations
A company that we have been following closely for a while now, Sorama are a company that specialise in sound visualisation and have done some incredible work in making people’s living and working conditions a great deal more pleasant.
One of their really impressive developments was with the Italian company SITGroup who work on developing systems designed for the safety, comfort and performance of gas equipment. Coming together to reduce the noise output of their boilers in development of their new silent boiler range ‘SunFlower’, they examined the current system in order to see where exactly the noise was being transferred outside of the boiler.
Through visualising boiler’s noise pollution, they discovered that the sound was being produced dynamically which required a considered approach rather than a simple dampening technique. This lead to a reduction of 5dB which in the close quarters of a small apartment building is truly remarkable.
According to a paper published by the European Heart Journal, living in an area of high noise pollution, specifically road traffic, may actually reduce your life expectancy.
The research, undertaken by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, King’s College London and Imperial College London, focused on 8.6 million people living in the capital between the years 2003 and 2010. Analysing the average noise of the road traffic during the day and separately during the night on a postcode by postcode basis, the research team then compared their findings with deaths and hospital admissions of those falling into two age brackets; Adults (25 years and older), and the elderly (75 years and older).
The results were very interesting indeed. In areas where the daytime traffic noise was over 60dB, deaths due heart and circulatory disease were four percent more common. It was postulated by the research team that this could be caused by hypertension, problems with sleep and stress as a direct result of noise pollution.
Likewise, those living in areas with average daytime pollution of over 60dB are five percent more likely to suffer strokes compared to those areas in which the average is below 55dB. At night this translated to a 5% increase in hospital admissions for stroke victims for those who fell into the ‘elderly’ category.
This is the first research of it’s kind, with previous teams investigating the link between noise pollution and hypertension and noise pollution, the data hasn’t, until now, been compared with the death rate in corresponding locations. These results further highlight the World Health Organisation’s warning that those living with day time noise pollution of over 55dB will suffer problems with their health.
In London this affects 1.6million people.
Due to the fact that the sample base was taken over areas of land, as opposed to an individual case by case basis, the results are not completely conclusive, however it has been noted by the researchers that their findings are in direct correlation with previous investigations into noise pollution and hypertension - one of the leading causes of strokes.
Speaking of the results, DR Jaana Halonen stated: “Road traffic noise has previously been associated with sleep problems and increased blood pressure, but our study is the first in the UK to show a link with deaths and strokes. This is the largest study of its kind to date, looking at everyone living inside the M25 over a seven-year period. Our findings contribute to the body of evidence suggesting reductions in traffic noise could be beneficial to our health.”
Iamge by Jon
A year in the making and they’re finally here! We’re delighted to announce that our high performance windows are now available. Boasting a 2dB increase in noise reduction and incredible thermal efficiency, we’re ever so proud of our creations.
2dB Increase In Noise Reduction
Whilst it doesn’t sound like much, we can assure you that the year was basically spent testing and retesting our designs in order to ensure that our units could offer even greater noise reduction values across the board. This meant tinkering with every little feature, exploring every nook and cranny, and tweaking everything we could to get that little extra from our frames.
High Performance Windows: The Design
These new high performance windows are a little different to your traditional sash or casement designs, with a unique ‘tilt and turn’ design allowing users to either open the window fully or just a crack.
This means that it effectively offers the best of both worlds - acting as a casement window when you want the whole window open, and sash-esque with the tilt. Whilst our frames can do both at the same time, those short of space can have their bespoke designs tailored to their needs. Whether you’re in an inner city building that doesn’t boast great sill space, or have safety concerns, tilt only are a fantastic solution.
Likewise, ‘turn only’ are available for those who perhaps want to use their windows as a thoroughfare onto their roof, or as balcony doors.
Thermal Efficiency Is Through The Roof
The other awesome bonus of our new designs is that they are completely airtight when sealed! That means no draughts whatsoever, and one of the best standards of thermal efficiency you could dream of.
Perhaps the most remarkable quality of our high performance windows is that they are available as secondary glazing. Whilst most secondary glazing units offer a certain degree of thermal efficiency and noise reduction, the combination of your current frames with these high performers is truly remarkable.
In areas below flight paths, where the overhead noise can become unbearable, the combination of our tilt and turn range and double glazed units can boast noise reductions of up to 80dB! Turning that rumble of a jet into, well, nothing at all.
Demonstrating the outstanding noise reduction qualities of our “Silent Windows” is far easier said than done. Whilst we can speak about the reductions, and break down what 30dB means in simple terms there’s nothing better than hearing the difference for yourself.
Unfortunately this has proven to be completely impractical, as we are unable to replicate this in a showroom, or take all of our prospective clients round to our installation sites. As such, the geniuses behind Hugo Carter went and recorded the noise differences from our respective windows in comparison to your average double glazing and single glazing.
The results really are astounding and have helped a great deal of our clients to understand what all these reams of numbers actually mean.
So please, if you feel like us throwing out 30s and 40s and 50s all over the place makes no sense, come and check out our Simple Noise Reduction Windows Explainer Tool!
One of the most common complaints we get from our clients is that they’ve moved into a beautiful new property only to discover that there’s an indefatigable swathe of night buses that trundle their street keeping them up at night. If you’re one of those sufferers, we understand your pain. Losing out on shut eye due to the N35 really isn’t something to be envied.
So what are your options?
Well, I am sure you have heard of all the classics - the coatings you can put on the glass, the noise cancelling blinds, the secondary glazing. All of which will offer a degree of difference and turn the chugging bus into a, well, slightly less loud chugging bus, but they won’t get rid of the problem completely. I find it best to put numbers to things, so here are numbers:
- 70-80dB is the average noise level of a busy road at daytime
- secondary glazing offers a reduction in noise pollution of 12dB
- the ‘acceptable’ for a living room or bedroom is 30-35dB
Therefore, with secondary glazing, the best you can hope for is an noise level of 58dB in your living room - still way over what is deemed to be the tolerable level. The other options offer far less. This will certainly be a noticeable effect, but these solutions raise other questions, such as - do you want to lose all your sill space? Will you be satisfied with a slightly ‘less loud’ home?
If the answer is a resounding ‘no!’, then you have found the right guys. We specialise in manufacturing and installing windows that deal specifically with the root of the problem and don’t just offer stop gap solutions. Whilst this might sound like we re-route the buses around your house, we can’t actually do that and would get in a lot of trouble if we tried.
Instead, what we do is manufacture window solutions that work best for particular noise complaints - we have a range that are specifically designed to deal with the low rumble of busy roads, and a different range for the roar of planes. It’s all about understanding how the sound waves work, and using specific thicknesses of glass and designs of frame in order to best combat each kind of noise pollution.
In most cases, where we can employ our designs, this can offer a reduction of 40-45dB, turning the average daytime jungle run of the city’s streets into the ambient hum of the countryside. At night, the change is incredibly dramatic!
Want to see more of these windows? Check out our video demonstration here!
Image by Allen Watkin
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Hugo Carter is from tenants who are considering purchasing a property, but want to ensure that it’s ready to move straight into without having the bothersome complications of an installation crew or scaffolding on site. Often they will find the ideal home, but notice that the sound pollution is really quite bothersome, and before they fall out of love with their purchase they ask, “can I get your noise reduction windows installed before my actual move in date?”
The simple answer is yes, but, as with all things, nothing is that simple.
What You Need To Know About Our Process
At Hugo Carter, we require a full inspection of the property and its current windows before we can even think about beginning the project, prior to this we will need to take a phone survey to understand your needs. So if you don’t even have access to the property, or can’t divulge this information, then unfortunately we will have to wait until you can.
If the current tenants are still living in the property, we would not install the new windows unless expressly allowed to by them. As the process from survey to installation lasts between 8-10 weeks anyway, we would ask that if this is the case, the property’s current occupants let us in, in order for us to inspect the fittings and fixtures and to take measurements and readings of the noise pollution. That way we can fully form a quote for you based on our unique solution to individual noise complaints and at least get the project underway.
If you are thinking about remaining elsewhere until the work is complete, you must bear in mind that whilst the installation process itself won’t take very long, the manufacturing process does. We don’t supply made to measure windows, everything is constructed from scratch in order to ensure the perfect fit, and so you may want to consider this before beginning the process too.
New Tenants In Conservation Areas
As our windows are highly tailored, a lot of clientele reside in conservation areas where like for like replacements are a necessity. This is something we specialise in manufacturing, however, you will need to get planning permission before we can make any changes to the property. Again, this needs to be considered before you begin the process as attaining permission can add a considerable amount of time onto the estimated installation date.
Working With External Construction Crews & Contractors
We have worked with all types of people in all situations and are completely adept at working around current construction crews and contractors, if there is work already on going on the property. So don’t worry about calling them off and asking us to fit on a separate day, we are more than happy to work around the site, and have flexible delivery times in order to ensure a smooth operation.
Do you have any questions for us about installation of windows in a new property that we haven’t answered here? Get in touch in the comments below or give us a call and one of our team will be happy to address your concerns!
Image by Hakan Dahlstrom
Whilst you may live in a beautiful house, in a beautiful neighbourhood - be protected by the English Heritage and the Local Government there’s one thing that you can’t simply escape.
Be it from planes, neighbours, roads, schools, or wherever, noise pollution has many guises all of which seem designed to permeate your property and drive you up the wall.
As we well know, listed buildings and homes in conservation areas fall under strict jurisdiction and it can be a real nightmare to be permitted planning permission. So what can you do? There are basically only three options that you can pursue…
The first option is to install secondary glazing. This is a solution that won’t require any planning permissions, will not break the bank and will achieve a degree of noise reduction. However, they will look extremely ugly, take over your entire sill space and and not actually make much of a difference to noise pollution.
So, they’re cheap and they’re simple, but they’re not good at their job and they’re cumbersome. Basically these are the solution if you are on a shoestring budget and you just have to do something about the noise outside. If the problem of noise pollution isn’t great they will help, but for those who have a real problem, they’re best avoided.
Generally coming in at around an inch thick, acoustic panelling will help you reduce noise reduction from noisy neighbours that will have you banging on the walls at night. Coming in a range of designs, you can create a design that suits your room, but they aren’t going to fit straight into any property and in most cases will look unattractive.
Noise Dampening Plastic Film
Another option in conservation areas is placing noise dampening plastic film over your existing window frames. This avoids needing planning permission, but once more will only offer you a limited amount of noise reduction.
Noise Reducing Blinds & Curtains
There are plenty of these products out there on the market which will offer you some form of noise reduction. However, there are two clear issues:
The reduction you will experience will be fairly minimal and useless in most areas.
You will have to close your curtains and blinds all the time.
Installing Like for Like Windows
These will absolutely require planning permission to install, but they are hands down the best solution. You can expect 40 dB reductions in sound and can also get windows tailor made to suit those already installed in your property in order to pass planning permission standards. The issue here is that you will require a full installation and it can take up to ten weeks, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
Image by The voice of Hassocks