Environmental Considerations When Choosing Suspended Ceilings
Your choice of ceiling can enhance your building, but it can also reduce your environmental impact. One study comparing a suspended ceiling with an open plenum found that ceiling choice significantly impacted energy use, saving up to 17% on energy costs. But energy savings alone won’t make your building sustainable.
If you’re undertaking a commercial or retail fit out, here’s how to keep environmental considerations top of mind when choosing suspended ceilings in Bristol.
Another advantage when working with high-performance suspended ceilings is surface light reflection. Ceilings that achieve a high level of reflectivity will bounce light back into a room. In turn, this could mean that fewer light fittings are required reducing energy use and your environmental impact.
Indoor air quality
Over recent years, office design has focused on the quality of air in a space. Emissions of volatile compounds are coming under increased scrutiny. In response, new ceiling tile materials are being developed that address the issue of poor interior air quality and the presence of VOCs like formaldehyde.
The quality of your ceilings will have a significant impact on the comfort of users. It may also help your building to earn BREEAM credits. Achieving ‘no asbestos’ and the coveted EI rating will contribute to earning HEA 9 for VOCs.
Heating and cooling
Choosing the right suspended ceiling allows you to make the most of a structure’s thermal mass to reduce the need for mechanical HVAC.
One potential solution is to replace a wall-to-wall ceiling with a discontinuous canopy. The use of multiple strips, a central raft or a perimeter band allows you to integrate and screen services and provide acoustic control. But it also promotes the necessary airflow for thermal transfer to occur.
If a complete ceiling replacement is not cost-effective, try replacing smaller areas of standard tiles with open cell alternatives. You’ll create air grilles that allow for the flow of warmer air. Using a suspended ceiling maintains 100% of the concrete for passive cooling without compromising soundproofing.
According to WHO guidelines, being exposed to noise levels above 35dBA can seriously impact our health. Excessive noise reduces productivity, performance and wellbeing, and sound pollution can be a severe environmental issue.
Choosing a suspended ceiling system with highly sound absorbent tiles will reduce the issue, creating a better environment in the office or home.
When choosing sustainable construction materials, here are some of the criteria to keep in mind:
- Energy and emissions generated during manufacture
- Construction waste and disposal
- Levels of recycled content
- Product lifespan and replacement
- Recyclability at the end of its lifespan
In addition, products need to meet the occupants’ needs in creating a high-quality environment that’s comfortable and well-adapted to the building’s use. Ultimately, the sustainability of a building needs to be measured on whether it’s fit for purpose and produces an environment that promotes creativity and productivity.
There are additional factors that need to be kept in mind when choosing materials for suspended ceilings. These include thermal and acoustic comfort, fire safety, ease of service integration, hygiene and indoor air quality.
Materials like wood and metal are becoming increasingly popular in suspended ceiling design. Not only are they visually pleasing, but they’re also highly sustainable. Combined with a move away from traditional grid designs like 2×2 or 2×4, using sustainable ceiling tiles can create a unique look and feel for your ceilings.
At SLP Interiors, we can help you create sustainable interiors with suspended ceilings, drylining, solid partitions, and more. Contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help you design your sustainable home, office, or store.