Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Thinking ahead about noise pollution in buildings

The world’s biggest cities have never been as quiet as during the Corona lockdowns. No honking cars in traffic, no music in the parks, and no deafening noise from major construction activities. Just silence. But within our homes, the exact opposite happened. As a result of the corona measures, we were forced to stay indoors and during that time, we started to realize how ‘noisy’ it can be inside our living spaces. It’s not only the noise of our children running around the house or loud TV noises from surrounding neighbors when you are trying to work. There are also sounds you may not have cared about before: the whirring of a washing machine, the dripping sound of a broken tap, or the constant noise of circulating wastewater through the pipes behind the wall. At Wavin one of our goals is to build liveable and loveable places by improving living comfort around the world. Minimizing noise pollution is one of many ways we do that.

Thinking ahead

Actually, the trend of staying home was already noticeable before Covid-19, and will probably be noticeable long after as well. According to a survey, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we spend as much as 90% of our time indoors. But before Covid, these were usually busier places like offices and other workspaces where noise is more common.

In the future we will be working more from home and putting thought into small optimizations like reducing noise pollution can make a huge difference in our productivity and overall happiness. This is why during the construction or renovation phase of a building, it is worthwhile to take this into consideration. Making the right choices and investments in the early stages of a building project will be extremely important as it is more difficult to make these adjustments at a later stage. Thinking ahead is key.

History of Wavin AS+

The Wavin AS+ low noise drainage system has a history that goes way back. The system was ahead of its time as it was the first plastic low noise system in the world. Invented over thirty years ago in the late 1980s, at a time where noise pollution was not yet a concern. Back then, this invention was revolutionary, today it still might be.  In terms of its noise reduction purposes but also in terms of used materials and installation techniques. Wavin AS+ is made out of high-performing material. The unique composition of the mineral enriched material is put together in a three-layer pipe, delivering perfect sound absorption. Using Push-Fit connection technology makes it possible for installers to put two fittings together in an easy and cost-effective way as there is far less force and strength necessary - when compared to other systems -.

Pietro Mariotti, Wavin’s Global Business Development Director, remembers using AS+ for the first time back when he was still a young installer in Switzerland:  “To say the least Wavin was a pioneer. I remember starting out in Switzerland and using these pipes for the first time, it was amazingly innovative. At that time the alternative was to install cast iron, and if you compare that to plastic it’s ten times heavier, so much harder to install.”

 To this day we still see cast iron pipes in our homes. The noise these pipes generate is substantial. They’re also incredibly heavy, which can result in more trouble during installation, adding yet another hurdle to creating a comfortable living space. Since the initial installation of Wavin AS+, its technology is now used in all kinds of buildings where people gather such as hotels, schools, and hospitals. Wavin is currently working on installing AS+ in the Wyndham Dragon Hill Hotel in Hai Phong City, Vietnam (if you are a project engineer working in Asia, please click here. Since this will be a five-star hotel, much attention is given to eliminating noise pollution to ensure maximum comfort for the guests. In this way, Wavin continues to work towards its mission of making cities and buildings more liveable and loveable.

The future of low-noise systems

Recently, we released a new generation of the Wavin AS+ and we are constantly improving the technology behind our products. Next up is our challenge to make the product more sustainable, which means using more recycled materials and less virgin material.

Currently, plastics for the building and construction industry (19.8%) are the second most widely used material after packaging (39.9%) and have a high potential for re-use and recycling. However, of the 1.7 million ton plastic that is part of the construction waste stream, only 26% is being recycled (source). One reason for this is that our industry is being limited by EU regulations in the amount of recycled material it is allowed to use.  On the route to sustainable cities, it is therefore important to change the mindset of governments and businesses alike to adjust the standards around the use of recycled materials.

The Wavin AS+ low noise system is available in the majority of the markets we are operating in. Click here to find your local Wavin company.