If you’re dealing with an abundance of noise in your living space, you’ve likely looked into soundproofing or sound-absorbing panels. Whether it’s to protect you from outside sound or to protect your neighbors from noise in your home — for instance, if you’re a musician or videographer — sound-absorbing panels have found a variety of uses in modern-day homes and businesses.
As eco-friendliness becomes increasingly important to consumers, the makers of sound-absorbing panels have begun to incorporate more sustainable materials into their products. However, most panels are still made primarily of fiberglass, polyester, or propylene, which can cause damage to both the environment and the user if the panels degrade over time.
Research into the use of biodegradable, environmentally friendly materials like coir fiber has shown promise, however, and the sound absorption properties of coir panels are comparable to traditional sound-absorption materials.
What is Coir?
Coir is a natural fiber extracted from the husk of a coconut. Long treated as a waste product of coconut harvesting, research over the past decade has shown that coir fiber has a variety of uses, from garden fertilization to erosion control. More recently, scientists have been researching uses for coir that extend into the home and office, as well as daily life. Because of its low environmental impact, ease of production, and high availability, many manufacturers seek to replace harmful materials with coir and coir-based products whenever possible.
Coir as a Natural Sound Absorber
In multiple tests involving both standard sound-absorbing applications and the use of sound absorption materials in cars, natural sound-absorbing panels constructed with coir performed as well as — if not better than — traditional panels. The studies found that the effectiveness of coir panels is impacted by how the coir fibers were arranged and how the panels were constructed. However, both treated coir panels and panels made with a coir/polyester composite worked well to neutralize a wide range of frequencies and volumes.
In addition to being useful as a sound absorption material, coir panels are also more cost-effective to construct and install. Because the material used to make the panels is both plentiful and affordable, the savings are passed to the consumer. In this case, both residential and commercial clients can install sound absorption panels in their homes and businesses at a fraction of the cost of other panels.
Why This Is Important
As we move toward a more ecologically conscious society, it’s vital to recognize areas where we can become more eco-friendly and sustainable. Traditional soundproofing and sound-absorbing materials can be harmful to the user and can also negatively impact the environment through their production. Coir panels and other natural-fiber panels, such as palm and tea leaf fiber panels, take natural products that are by-products of different production methods and convert them into usable materials.
In doing so, manufacturers of coir products are solving a waste disposal issue by taking a waste product and using it in construction. Coir is a biodegradable, non-toxic alternative to many traditional fibrous materials, and its use protects the environment.