Acoustic Blinds and Shades for Offices and Commercial Buildings: Everything You Need to Know

24th Aug 2018

What’s the Purpose of Acoustic Blinds?

A recent survey found that only 30% of people are happy with the noise levels in their office. An open plan workplace can be a noisy environment with conversations between coworkers, phones ringing and constant keyboard tapping, which can result in a negative effect on employees’ health and productivity. With open plan designs becoming increasingly popular it’s vital that the acoustics of a space are taken into consideration. Acoustic blinds will not only add a stylish feature to your offices but will help reduce reverberation in large, open spaces.

Most offices work best when the sound is around 50-60 decibels. Investing in acoustic blinds could mean the difference between having normal conversations with your co-workers and having to constantly raise your voice to be understood.

What are Acoustic Blinds?

The science behind improving your office acoustics is simple: every material has a sound absorption coefficient, which is a figure between 0 and 1. This is a measurement of how much sound is reflected and how much is absorbed. The closer the figure is to 1 the higher the sound absorption, which is ideal for allowing better communication and interaction in the workplace.

When choosing a fabric for your office blinds look out for the Acoustic Absorption Factor, or Alpha W (AW).

Alpha W is calculated in line with the standard ISO 11654 using a range of frequencies to give the Weighted Sound Absorption Coefficient. This is then split into classification groups A-E, with A being the best absorber (alpha-w > 0.9) and E being the lowest (alpha-w = 0.15-0.25).

How to use blinds to improve acoustics in the office

There are several different fabric types you can use to improve the acoustics in the office. Our Soprano fabric is a premium 100% Trevira CS fabric that not only meets the important fire safety standards but also has an acoustic rating of alpha-w 0.60, which will greatly improve the acoustic performance and create a positive impact in the workspace.

Our Decor Neptune fabric also has an alpha-w of 0.60 in the 1% range. This fabric has the added bonus of being made entirely from recycled material, including plastics recovered from the ocean.

Another option is acoustic wool curtains, which can be used for meeting rooms or as a room divider to add ambience and light control. As wool is one of the best sound absorbers available you’ll easily be able to boost the acoustic performance of your space with these shades.

We proudly supplied and installed 90% wool curtains in Kvadrat Coda 2 fabric to the Apple iTunes Lounge in London that were made to 300% fullness for maximum reverb control.

How to Choose Acoustic Blinds

When it comes to choosing acoustic blinds for your office there are many things to consider. What colour would suit the interior of your office? And bear in mind the visual light transmittance and thermal performance of blinds too, which is crucial for your employee’s health and well-being.

At Decor Systems we are able to provide you with the blind fabrics to meet your projects’ needs. If you’re unsure which acoustic options are best for your project give us a call to set up a meeting with one of our highly knowledgeable consultants who will be able to guide you in the right direction.

How do Acoustic Blinds increase productivity in the office?

If your office has bad acoustics your employees are more likely to be stressed. Loud noises make it hard to concentrate and can even increase heart rates. Workers can be up to 66% less productive due to the distractions of loud, open plan offices and lack focus, making it difficult to complete regular tasks. To prevent this from happening and to ensure a happier, motivated working environment acoustic adjustments will need to be made.

Materials that reduce noise and provide quiet spaces to work are a key feature of a healthy office, along with generous access to daylight and views of nature. Our acoustic blind and curtain fabrics will not only reduce sun glare and overexposure, instead of providing an optimal amount of natural light to maintain your employee’s health, but will also improve their productivity. Loud noises will be absorbed by the blind fabrics allowing staff to feel more at ease, communicate easier with colleagues and focus on their tasks.

Interested in supplying your office with our acoustic blinds or curtains? Visit our website and get in touch today to discuss your project needs.

Other articles you may find useful:

Sound Advice - Acoustic Fabrics

Apple iTunes Lounge

New Fabric - Decor Soprano

This article was written by Hugh McCreadie Senior Consultant at Decor Systems UK. Hugh has been working in the commercial blinds industry since 1992, helping architects and designers to find solutions to window furnishing requirements by providing technical advice, consultancy and backup. This includes major commercial, residential and hospitality projects. Connect with Hugh on LinkedIn.