Reducing audible noise on the balcony: the benefit of balcony glazing

Retractable balcony glazing seeks to find a solution that maximizes noise reduction on balconies, while still remaining an unsealed space, ensuring adequate ventilation. As the space is not made ‘hermetic’, this also means that the balcony can remain an ‘outdoor space’, whereby it is not included in the floor-space calculations of the home – at least in most cities around the world. From the standpoint of a developer or a builder, this means that the permitting processes are extensively eased.

Sound reduction comprises of two distinguished elements: the airborne sound insulation of the product, and the sound insulation of the balcony space as a whole. The airborne sound insulation value can be determined for the product alone (e.g. balcony glazing), or for an entire system (balcony glazing + railing). The value explains the ability of a product or system to isolate noise. At best, these figures have been determined to be just over 20dB. To provide an example, tests have been completed in German test laboratories according to European standards. The goal was to see how our popular balcony glazing product influenced incoming external auditory input. With the most sealed option, airborne sound insulation values were at 26dB, and with the Lumon railing, 27dB.

The sound insultation of the balcony space, however, must take into consideration other elements of the balcony structures. This can include materials used for the balcony structures and their density. An inverted balcony with walls on three sides is most likely to have better sound insulation values than an extruding balcony, where three glazed surfaces are exposed to auditory input from the outside.  However, the sound insultation depends on the density of the wall structures, therefore meaning that the sound insulation of extruding balconies can also be improved. That is to say, density acts as the crucial element for determining the level of sound insulation. In addition, carefully planned acoustic design will contribute to a positive sound insulation result of the balcony space as a whole.

On average, the results for sound insulation on a typical balcony vary from 4dB-12dB (with glazing). With acoustic planning, this can be enhanced to a value of up to 20dB. Exact situational values can be determined with our sound insulation calculator. Contact us and our specialists will be glad to give you more information regarding the calculator.

Reducing audible noise on the balcony

In busy cities, noise reduction elements of balcony glazing are crucial

Lumon has installed balcony glazing solutions in cities around the world. For example in Germany, noise reduction elements are central. Many multi-residential buildings are situated near busy roads, so one of the main selling features is reduced levels of noise in city homes.

As more and more people navigate to live in cities, it becomes increasingly important to consider the comfort of living amongst city bustle. With unglazed spaces, the case may very well be that balconies of city-dwellers go completely unused… which is of course not an ideal situation in already relatively small living spaces.

In recent years, Lumon’s balcony glazing solutions have also received recognition in North America, where major cities like Vancouver and Toronto have begun focusing on improved outdoor living opportunities in city homes. On top of the noise reduction benefit, the overall functionality of the building in relation to energy saving also improves, while providing added utilitarian benefit.

Creating more room for life is also about creating the possibility for residents to actually enjoy their outdoor spaces – reducing noise is a component of that possibility.

Reducing audible noise on the balcony: the benefit of balcony glazing
Kimmo Hilliaho
Doctor of Science in Technology, Lumon Oy
I have been researching and investigating glazed balconies since 2009. During this time, a master's thesis on "Energy saving effect of balcony glazing" and a doctoral dissertation "Energy Saving Potential and Interior Temperatures of Glazed Spaces: Evaluation through Measurements and Simulations" have been completed.