Great living spaces, Home, Sound | 18 November 2021
Quiet in the home.
We look at the work Quiet Mark are doing to make homes quieter.
Quiet Mark launched in 2011 to demystify the complex world of unwanted sound in the home. Quiet Mark assists the public by identifying the quietest and best noise reducing products and materials for the home available on the market. Moreover, through expert testing and verification of products, Quiet Mark have driven change in manufacturing across the world to prioritise noise reduction within the design of everyday machines, appliances, technologies, and building materials.
Interest in quieter appliances is growing, with John Lewis’s technology director, Laurence Mitchell, stating there are more than 10,000 website searches a month for appliances that include the term “quiet.” Just last month Quiet Mark ran a National Noise Survey for 2,000 UK adults that showed 62% of adults were drawn towards quieter appliances. This love for quieter appliances transfers to the costs people are willing to pay, with 46% of British people estimated to be willing to pay more.
In recognition of the increased demand, many of the UK’s largest retailers including Argos, Very and John Lewis have formed retail partnerships with Quiet Mark. Through partnerships like this, Quiet Mark are helping to create a visible and accessible platform for the promotion and development of quieter appliances and the much-needed prioritisation of unwanted noise reduction in homes. This is so important because the sound experience within the home (and all spaces) vastly impacts our lives, as Barry Blesser co-author with Linda Salter of “Spaces Speak Are You Listening,” said to the BBC “the characteristic signature sounds within the spaces we inhabit unconsciously affect all elements of our behaviour.” It is why we are working hard to ensure Kiss House homes remove unwanted noise and it is why there is a natural fit between our work at Kiss House and the work of the team at Quiet Mark.
“Noisy distractions can zap our productivity, so we spend more time completing certain tasks. This can result in longer work hours, leading to increased stress levels. Feelings of anxiety can keep us awake at night, impacting our sleep health, preventing us from recuperating and feeling well.”
Simon Gosling, CMO, Quiet Mark
Constant exposure to high levels of noise affects us all in different ways. Children, the chronically ill and the elderly are often the most sensitive to excessive levels of noise, and adults working in especially noisy environments often experience higher levels of stress and fatigue. Poppy Szkiler, Quiet Mark’s CEO and co-founder comments that, “because sound is invisible it is often overlooked. Yet, the fundamental impacts it has on all the physical rhythms of our bodies, our hormones, heart rate and brain waves are so profound and inherent to our well-being.”
Despite quieter appliances becoming more prominent in mainstream shops, it appears there is still a way to go when it comes to education on the impact of unwanted sounds in the home. Quiet Mark’s survey revealed that over half (57%) of Brits would like a quieter home, however just under half (47%) were aware that exposure to noise can disturb sleep and cause physical and mental health issues. This shows, according to Poppy Szkiler, “a huge knowledge gap in the UK, preventing noise reduction being made a priority in the design focus of new product development.” Our experience at Kiss House is that this extends beyond product development to the design of the sound spaces within buildings which equates to the way we design and detail the buildings themselves.
The importance for quiet environments has become even more crucial in the wake of the Covid pandemic, as people’s working habits continue to flex between home and offices. Research reveals that sounds from heating, ventilation systems, appliances and even other occupants hinder productivity, focus and memory retention, wherever we are working. “This applies as much to work from home as it does within a commercial office space. Those noisy distractions which zap our productivity mean that we spend more time completing certain tasks. This can result in longer work hours, leading to increased stress levels. Feelings of anxiety can keep us awake at night, impacting our sleep health, preventing us from recuperating and feeling well,” says Simon Gosling of Quiet Mark. In addition to airborne noise sources, impact noise from activities like footfall and mechanical vibration can create uncomfortable environments. These background noises can also kill our productivity levels, according to research from the British Journal of Psychology, showing workers to be up to 66% less productive when exposed to just one nearby conversation.
The key to accelerating positive change is education and this is something Quiet Mark focus on through their Acoustics Academy, launched last year. Acoustics Academy is an online platform that provides architects, builders, designers, and home improvers with a guide to expertly verified acoustic solutions for every building application area. Covering ceilings, glazing, flooring, insulation, vents, boilers, furniture, lighting, bathroom, and kitchen appliances and much more.
Quiet Mark are determined to make our built environment quieter to minimise the adverse effects of noise pollution and love what they’re doing.
Quiet Mark podcast
Simon Gosling, CMO, Quiet Mark hosts a brilliant multi-award winning podcast which we were thrilled to be part of last year. It was recently listed in “Best start-up’s top 20 health podcasts of 2021.”
Episode 8 “Transforming construction with sound design,” featured our co-founder Mike Jacob, and is now in the top three most downloaded episodes — you can listen to it here.
Article on noise pollution in construction
This summer, Simon also invited Kiss House, Echo Barrier, The International WELL Building Institute and Hilson Moran, to collaborate on a feature, “Reducing noise pollution and improving acoustics” — for the FC&A magazine. As this budding relationship developed, it became clear that Quiet Mark and Kiss House’s values are aligned, both companies driven by a goal to enable people to live better, healthier lives.
Read it here.
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Quiet Mark Heritage: www.quietmark.com