Acoustic ceiling panels preserve performance of thermally activated concrete

Hunter Douglas of Rotterdam has developed new aluminium ceiling panels that ensure excellent acoustics while simultaneously minimising performance losses in thermally activated concrete buildings. The new panels contain 90% recycled aluminium. Standard ceiling panels prevent thermally activated concrete from transferring warmth or cold to the room beneath. However, without panels at all, a room would have insufficient means of sound absorption. Hunter Douglas has resolved this with its new BXD ceiling panels.

The panels offer more open spacing, thanks to an open joint of 30 millimetres. The loss of acoustic value this would normally yield has been compensated for by adapting the panel height. At a height of 60 millimetres and width of 30 millimetres, the panels achieve an average sound absorption value of αW = 0.50. This is just one of many possible applications. Combining BXD panels of varying widths (30, 80 and 130 mm) with a joint of 20 millimetres can even lead to an absorption value of αW = 0.85. The availability of the new panels in various lengths and widths means architects can literally add an extra dimension to their ceilings. Pieter van Rees, Marketing Manager at Hunter Douglas said:

“I like to compare the panels to Lego blocks. We’ve basically developed a series of building blocks that can be creatively combined in many different ways. The range of possibilities is astonishing.”

Back in 2010, Hunter Douglas already supplied Dutch government organisation Waterschap Brabantse Delta in Breda with acoustic panels with a reduced negative effect on thermally activated concrete. The BD ceiling panels were 40 millimetres high, 30 millimetres wide and had a joint of 20 millimetres. Pieter van Rees explained:

“We wanted to optimise this system by making the ceiling more open. We’ve achieved that goal by mounting the panels at a greater distance from one another: we’ve broadened the joint from 20 to 30 millimetres. The loss of sound absorption capacity resulting from the enlargement of these interspaces has been compensated for by the development of BXD panels with a height of 60 millimetres. The result is an improved acoustic performance as well as an improved exchange of heat and cold between the concrete cores and the rooms in the building.”

The new BXD panels give ceilings a smooth look: visually, the ceiling appears to be a single piece thanks to the small distance between the lamellas. What’s more, this solution for thermally activated concrete buildings is far less prominent than the baffles commonly used for acoustic purposes. Baffles are ceiling panels hung from the ceiling vertically in rows and are conspicuous and take up a lot of space – contrary to the BXD panels, which are smaller in size, yielding more space. The aluminium panels are also environment-friendly: made from 90% recycled aluminium. On top of this, all of the BXD panels are fireproof-tested individually and in combination on the basis of the EN 13501-1 standard. They have been classified as B S2 d0, which means they are flash resistant.

Hunter Douglas has observed a trend in architecture towards ceilings of varying heights. The manufacturer has responded to this trend by expanding its range. The new BXD panels (height: 60 mm) are available in widths of 30, 80 and 130 millimetres. The B panels (height: 20 mm) are available in widths of 30, 80, 130 and 180 millimetres. The BD panels (height: 40 mm) are 30 millimetres wide. This means architects can come up with endless combinations, adding their own dynamic to ceilings and even creating a 3D effect. Depending on the interior climate and acoustic requirements, an architect can combine panels to achieve a sound absorption level of αW = 0.85.

Van Rees added:

“The initial responses we’ve had from architects suggest they find these options highly inspiring, we offer them a lot of extras: they have the option of creating a quiet-looking ceiling by minimizing variations or an extravagant look. The panels are like Lego blocks: you can combine them in countless possible ways and click them into the ceiling wherever you want.”