A Thermal Bridge

In the 1970s it was fashionable to build large structures like students’ residences using reinforced concrete walls and slabs. However, when the fuel crisis came, it was quickly found that too much energy was wasted through the side walls connected to the fagade. A quick solution was devised using a polystyrene and plasterboard on each side of those walls. While this solved the thermal problem, it induced a significant loss in sound insulation between rooms.

Lesson Learned: Always make sure that whatever thermal cladding is proposed will not hamper the sound reduction properties of the structural elements on which they are applied.

Sustainable Development Project

A brand new office project was designed in France for the headquarters of a company. To keep with the spirit of its time, a sustainable development quest was carried out under the BREEAM guidelines. One of the main features called for a thermally active upper slab.

Unfortunately, BREEAM also required a minimum background noise level value in the office spaces, and the active slab would of course not be able to generate it! A few fan units were eventually required to meet the acoustic requirements.

Lesson Learned: Beware when opting for mechanical and thermal solutions that the acoustic requirements are met.

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