NATIONAL REPORT—With peak travel season approaching for hotels,
motels and inns, noise levels will also peak—due to the increase in street
traffic/night life, aircraft roar, train/ship horn blare, and late-night pool
parties—just as guests pay top dollar for the experience.
No matter how beautiful the surroundings or convenient the
location, the constant noise can fray guests’ nerves and leave them angry and
sleepless. If management is lucky, guests may only demand to change to a
quieter room; if not, they may check out early, demand a refund, or leave scathing
reviews about excessive noise on online review sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.
To proactively handle the noise problem and ensure quiet, restful
rooms that encourage repeat business and referrals, hoteliers are cost-effectively
addressing the primary culprits of noise ingress—windows and patio doors—to cut
external noise by as much as 95 percent, without replacement or major renovation.
Because the solution also adds superior seals and insulation value, it can also
improve comfort and reduce the heating/cooling portion of hotel energy bills by
15 to 30 percent, while maintaining the integrity of historic sites.
Multiple studies have shown that 90 percent of exterior
noise enters through windows, not walls. Unfortunately, simply replacing the
windows seldom adequately resolves the problem.
Double or triple pane windows, for example, filter out only
slightly more noise than single pane, if any. Although effective at insulating
from external heat or cold, these products are not truly engineered for soundproofing.
“With double pane windows, the two pieces of glass within
the frame vibrate like the two tines of a tuning fork which actually creates
more noise,” says Randy Brown, President of Soundproof Windows, a national
manufacturer of window and patio door soundproofing products. “Also, the air
space for both double and triple pane windows does very little to retard the
Brown adds that much of the noise that enters through
windows comes through leaking window seals. With age conventional window seals
fail, so any partial relief experienced by replacing windows may be short-lived.
Fortunately, hospitality-specific soundproofing solutions
exist that can reduce the noise ingress through windows and patio doors by as
much as 95 percent, without replacement or major renovation.
Already utilized in thousands of rooms across North America,
these cost-effective solutions in many ways remain a “best kept secret.”
This is primarily because there is some confusion about the
possible options, which can range from replacing double pane windows to
inserting sheets of Plexiglas. Available from various window suppliers, these
products have a limited ability to reduce exterior noise.
As a result, many owners and managers are instead turning to
the soundproofing industry for solutions engineered for maximum noise reduction
to deliver true peace and quiet.
True Soundproofing Technology
To cost-effectively soundproof guestrooms ahead of peak
season, some hotels are turning to true soundproofing companies like Soundproof
Windows, Inc. that have background and expertise engineering products used in
the most noise sensitive environments in the world, like recording studios.
The company has created a “second window” that can be
installed easily in front of the existing windows. The product is designed
specifically to match and function like the original window, no matter its
design or whether it opens or closes.
This inner window essentially reduces noise from entering on
three fronts: the type of materials used to make the pane, the ideal air space
between original window and insert, and finally improved, long-lasting seals. The
combination can reduce external noise by up to 95 percent.
“The first noise barrier is laminated glass, which dampens
sound vibration much like a finger on a wine glass stops it from ringing when
struck,” explains Brown. “An inner PVB layer of plastic further dampens sound
Air space of two to four inches between the existing window
and the Soundproof Window also significantly improves noise reduction because
it isolates the window frame from external sound vibrations.
Finally, the company places spring-loaded seals in the second window frame. “This
puts a constant squeeze on the glass panels, which prevents sound leaks and
helps to stop noise from vibrating through the glass,” Brown says.
Since external noise can also enter sliding glass doors,
which are common on ground floor hotel rooms or upper level rooms with patios,
similar soundproofing strategies can also be effectively applied in these
Like the soundproof windows, a second sliding glass door can
be added, but mounted either inside or outside an existing sliding glass door. This
can eliminate up to 95 percent of external noise entering through the patio
Enhancing Comfort &
Soundproofing the windows of hotels, motels, and inns can also increase guest
comfort by reducing drafts through the existing window seals while significantly
reducing energy costs.
In fact, adding the second window provides an additional
layer of insulation with better insulation values than the best low-e, argon
gas filled double paned window. This can reduce heating/cooling loss by 77
percent or more for single paned windows. The added insulation stops unwanted
air infiltration around and through window seals and can reduce the heating-cooling
portion of energy bills by 15 to 30 percent.
As an example, when the 11-story, 144-room Four Diamond
Hotel in downtown Houston protected several its windows from external noise
with Soundproof Windows, the energy savings were substantial.
A detailed one-year study showed the hotel saved $2.11 in
energy savings per occupied room night. This amounted to 15.7 percent per
occupied room night for an ROI of 22.6 percent over 4.37 years. The hotel has
electric air-conditioning, natural gas heating and dual pane windows. Energy use
was tracked following installation from September 2007 thru August 2008 and
compared to the same months of the previous year.
Because the soundproof windows do not replace or alter existing windows or patio doors, they have also been approved for use in historic hotels and have not been turned down by any historical authority. This helps such properties to maintain their historic character. Whether hoteliers seek to protect their guests from stressful external noise intrusion, offer more peace, quiet and comfort, or significantly reduce heating-cooling related energy costs, economically soundproofing existing windows, rather than replacing them, can provide a real competitive edge through peak season and beyond.
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, Calif. He writes about health, business, technology, and educational issues and has an M.A. in English from C.S.U. Dominguez Hills. For more information about Soundproof Windows, Inc., call (877) 438-7843, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.soundproofwindows.com.