Brick That Cures Sick, Noisy Buildings

Summary

A breakthrough in sustainable office and house design has been invented in Sydney, Australia.

Silenceair looks like a transparent brick but it’s a high-tech solution to one of the biggest problems of city living,” says Fresh Innovator Dr Chris Field.

Cities are noisy. When we block the noise from our offices and homes, we usually reduce the ventilation or use noisy air conditioners to circulate fresh air – the result is sick buildings and people.

Silenceair uses patented passive technology to allow fresh air into buildings while leaving 85% of the noise behind.

Chris developed the concept during his doctoral research at the University of Sydney. Now he plans to take it to the world – starting with an invitation to speak in Prague at the world’s largest noise control conference.

"Urban life involves a compromise between convenience and proximity to noise," says Chris. "Part of that compromise is deciding whether to have the window open or shut. Research on sick-building syndrome highlights the issues of working in buildings that rely on closed windows and mechanical ventilation."

Silenceair is a brick that can be inserted into buildings to allow the natural passage of air while reducing the noise from the outside by up to 85%. The device is environmentally friendly because it uses no power – just a patented configuration of passive resonators. It can even be made transparent to allow natural illumination.

"With the increasing awareness of “sick building syndrome” there is mounting demand for naturally ventilated buildings,” says Chris. “But open windows also bring in outside noise, which becomes unacceptable in noisy urban areas where most people work.

A device that allows natural ventilation without compromising noise attenuation represents a breakthrough in sustainable office design,” says Tristram Carfrae, Principal of Arup Australasia, the engineering firm who employs Chris as a senior consultant and who have been very supportive of his work. Arup Australasia is recognised as a world leader in sustainable design and undertook the structural design of the Sydney Opera House.

Primary author(s): Fresh Innovators

Source: KIBT News
No 641
June 9 2004

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