What Does Sustainability Sound Like?

The environmental and social impact of architectural solutions is becoming just as important as their visual appeal. For architects, this means the challenge of balancing sustainable design with aesthetics and functionality, especially regarding acoustics. Some traditional methods to combat noise reduction and soundproofing may impede sustainable efforts, but with the right innovative products, no compromise between good acoustics and environmentally friendly spaces has to be made. So what is the sound of sustainability? A few notes come into play.

Designing with people in mind

Sustainable design thinking is about fulfilling the needs of our current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. For Knauf DANOLINE, it is about designing healthy and harmless acoustic products that maintain their functionality and aesthetical performance. For decades. For the people who build and the people who occupy the buildings.

Designing with respect for occupants’ well-being and comfort encourages architects to explore pure acoustic materials that do not emit poisonous dust or other harmful substances. Make sure to look for products with certified indoor climate certification on particle emissions, VOC and formaldehyde.

Taking a holistic approach

Securing an excellent acoustic experience while remaining environmentally friendly is not a simple task, but architects can achieve any sustainable design goals with a holistic approach. An important aspect to consider when choosing acoustic materials for sustainable construction is the environmental impact of the material based on a life cycle analysis, as well as the products' robustness, functionalities, expected lifetime, and aspects of circularity.

Circularity is one of the most critical buzzwords in modern sustainable architecture. Acoustic design choices are no longer based solely on performance and visual appeal but also on whether the product contains recycled content and is fully recyclable afterwards, no matter how many years later this may be.

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Acoustic solutions with circularity in mind

Using natural materials in acoustic design contributes to a healthy indoor climate. With gypsum, you can create simple-to-implement acoustic solutions that look beautiful, last long and function as they should. But most importantly, gypsum is a clean, natural material that can be recycled again and again because the composition and qualities of gypsum remain the same over time. This makes gypsum a durable material, and durability is another essential element of sustainability.

Knauf DANOLINE offers a wide range of gypsum acoustic panels that meet the strictest acoustic requirements. All products are made from up to 30% recycled gypsum and are 100% recyclable after their end life. Through innovation, we constantly search to improve our products and processes to ensure optimal use of our natural resources, full recyclability and added value to your acoustic design project.

An acoustic ceiling or wall can be more than just a functional necessity. With perforated gypsum material, you can be creative and put your personal touch. Knauf DANOLINE acoustic panels can be repainted easily without any loss of acoustic performance, which contributes to extending the lifetime of the acoustic ceiling.

How Elsinore City Centre School combined sustainability and acoustics

Merging sustainable design strategies with achieving acoustic excellence can be an intricate and unfamiliar process, but with the right products, it becomes a reality. The architects behind Elsinore City Center School in Denmark achieved just that.

  • Skolen i Bymidten by Kjær & Richter, Denmark Belgravia Plus
  • Skolen i Bymidten by Kjær & Richter, Denmark Belgravia Plus
  • When integrating ventilation with the acoustical ceiling, you can make the ceiling without air inlets. The fixtures in the ceiling are kept at a minimum - only the exhaust vents are necessary. Learn more about how ventilation ceilings work: Ventilation & acoustics
  • Skolen i Bymidten by Kjær & Richter, Denmark Belgravia Plus

The challenge: Unhealthy environment with poor acoustics

Neither sustainable nor acoustically pleasing. Before the renovation, this was the situation at Elsinore City Center School. CO2 levels reached 3000ppm for most of the day, and reverberation time was around 1 second - far from the required 0,6 seconds.

This was not a welcoming environment for a place with hundreds of kids. How can having no fresh air and poor acoustics be welcoming? Learning should happen in a peaceful, healthy space. The school was built in 1880, adding difficulty to making the necessary changes.

The solution: Acoustic ventilation ceilings to the rescue

To address sustainability and acoustic issues, the architects at Kjær & Richter chose Knauf DANOLINE's ventilation ceiling Belgravia+ with Unity 3 perforation. Thanks to their design, the gypsum ceiling panels provide good acoustics and ventilation, as well as look aesthetically pleasing. The building looks great, and children can focus better.

The new ceilings are perforated with holes to allow fresh air circulation. The perforation also significantly improves acoustics; plus, the holes go all the way to the edge of the panel, creating an appealing, uniform look. 

No floor height was lost to implement the new solution because acoustic panels were combined with the ventilation system. The acoustic panels are demountable, making it easy to service lights or other hidden installations.


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If you want to see, touch, and try out our Danoline products, you can order a product sample here. All our ceilings and walls are sustainable, certified and easy to install.

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The result: Reverberation time and CO2 levels dropped

Looks good and sounds good. The new acoustic ceilings helped reduce reverberation time at the Elsinore school by 50% and CO2 levels by 66%, dramatically improving indoor air quality and acoustics. The improvement was documented in a post-renovation report made by an independent institute for the municipality of Elsinore. 

The new acoustic solution also helps save space and building maintenance costs. Elsinore school reported consuming 20% less energy. Bonus: By leading fresh air directly into the cavity, the architects at Kjær & Richter could save ventilation inlets, avoid pipe crossing, save construction height, and reduce the diameter of the exhaust pipe up to 350 mm.

The new gypsum panels can be recycled indefinitely and repainted when needed without affecting acoustical performance or ventilation.

“We decided to go with gypsum ceilings for aesthetic reasons – as it is more in line with buildings from the 1880s than other ceilings available. And because it is our experience that gypsum simply lasts longer in schools.”
Hanne Pedersen, Architect, Project Manager & Construction Economist, Kjær & Richter

Create a welcoming acoustic environment with Knauf DANOLINE

Creating a healthy indoor climate begins at the drawing board. Consider circularity and acoustic materials to support it at the start of the design process. With Knauf DANOLINE perforated gypsum panels, you can use acoustic design to facilitate a welcoming environment.

Our local consultants are ready to help you

Do you want to know more about the design possibilities and the acoustical properties of our products? Get in touch, and our local Area Sales Manager will help guide you and answer any questions you might have.

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