The Science of Sound Part VII: Beating Flanking Paths
Today’s office environments can clearly benefit from the daylighting, sound separation and aesthetic advantages offered by Hufcor® acoustic glass folding doors. (And believe me, as I write this blog I sit at my desk in Hufcor’s corporate offices space, built within a second story mezzanine, located directly in the middle of our 300,000 s.f. US manufacturing plant. Nope, I virtually have no access to outdoor light. Yet, obviously architects and designers forgive us as Hufcor folding glass partitions are quickly becoming the industry standard for movable, acoustically rated glass wall systems. I guess that our yearning for more light within our own offices has really inspired the Hufcor engineers and designers!)
Office environments are in need of folding doors to provide flexible use of spaces. Yet, traditional folding doors are designed to stop both sound and light from entering rooms. By using newly improved acoustically rated glass folding doors, schools and offices create interior spaces that have the flexibility they need and allow natural light to enter deep into office environments.
Daylighting Advantages of Acoustic Glass Movable Walls
Certainly all the research supports that humans learn more effectively in schools and office settings, are more productive and healthier within interior environments with natural lighting. A great review of the facts can be found within the National Renewable Energy Laboratory report by L. Edwards and P. Torcelli titled, “A Literature Review of the Effects of Natural Light on Building Occupants.” A quick scan of this report will clearly outline the benefits of daylighting on occupants within offices, schools, retailing, health care facilities and industrial buildings. In all of these cases, Hufcor’s acoustical glass partitions offer advantages for maintaining flexibility and allowing light to enter into meeting spaces and deeper into the building.
LEED® certified buildings need to achieve high levels of direct daylighting often more than 75% of direct access to natural light within the inner spaces within the building. LEED IEQ 8.1 outline these requirements. Acoustical glass partitions from Hufcor can assist in achieving these requirements. Shown above, the glass folding doors create a small meeting room and allow natural light to enter the larger meeting space in the foreground. Both spaces have direct access to the exterior natural light, creating more productive work spaces.
For installations like this one, Hufcor has a magnetically operated inside-the-glass mini blind system to actually block some of the direct sunlight during times when the glare is interfering with a meeting or visual privacy is needed.
Acoustical Advantages of Hufcor Movable Glass Walls
The above photo demonstrates a newly installed Hufcor acoustically-rated movable glass wall at a school. The glass folding door divides a group study hall from a main entrance corridor of the school. The Hufcor acoustic glass wall system is designed to provide an acoustic barrier between the corridor space that is often quite loud and the quiet study hall area. The panels are installed with dual glazed glass with a minimal 3/8” glass thickness in each glass lite. This combination of glass layers provide a 44 STC between the two spaces.
To learn more about daylighting benefits in schools and office productivity written by MIT professor, Marilyne Andersen, link to “Studies on Daylight” to review technologies working to improve accessing natural light.
Aesthetic Benefits of Movable Glass Doors
In addition to daylighting and acoustical advantages of glass folding doors, one welcomed feature is the aesthetic nature of glass. Custom patterns, etching, decals and even writing surfaces are all being used with acoustical glass wall systems to provide stunning interior designs. By using etched or frosted translucent glass lites, the panels continue to provide natural light to enter the room, but also provide a level of privacy.
Another benefit of clear glass operable partitions is that you can actually see the interior designs of adjacent rooms as well. Businesses spend great amounts on furnishings and decorative wall accents to create inviting environments then, all too often, close the designs off using traditional operable partitions and folding doors. Acoustical glass walls allow these interiors to continue to provide the aesthetic surroundings intended by a designer and the functionality needed with an operable partition.