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  • Writer's picturePeter Rogers

Celebrating 10...

Updated: May 8

Celebrating 10 years of Sustainable Acoustics

…Our 10-strong team of fantastic people

…10 exciting and impactful goals for the next decade

Our Sustainable Acoustics timeline and milestones

A number of arrows representing a flow chart of Sustainable Acoustics' journey over the past 10 years. The first arrow is purple and says '2014'. The second arrow is plain light purple. The third arrow is blue and says '2017'; below the arrow is written 'Green Energy'. The fourth arrow is coloured by a gradient from blue to green; text on the arrow says '2019', and below the arrow is written 'carbon neutral'. The fifth arrow is plain green. The sixth arrow is white with a grey outline; on the arrow is written '2024', and below the arrow is written 'New offices, net zero goal by 2025 & BCorp'. After the sixth arrow, there is the sustainable acoustics '10 year anniversary' logo, specially created to mark this occasion.

Before the Beginning….

April 2004 – Peter, a seasoned Acoustician running an office in Manchester for Sound Research Laboratories had an ambition to deliver acoustics for the 21st Century and Diana, an environmentalist ethics analyst working at WWF-UK, met and began to envision a way that sustainability and acoustics could fit and thrive together. Peter became ever more certain that this fit was powerful and necessary for the future of acoustics, but how to articulate it was the challenge. This led to the emerging idea of Sustainable Acoustics and Peter’s increasing involvement in the Institute of Acoustics’ encouragement of events on the topic, along with Richard Cowell of ARUP Acoustics (whose influence, encouragement and mentoring continued up until his death in 2023).

April 2014 – Our Journey Begins…

The English Cogger Partnership (TECP) - a small acoustics company located in Winchester, with a great reputation linked back to ARUP, was purchased by Peter and Diana Rogers and re-branded after a transitional year to Sustainable Acoustics. With Louise Conroy and Chris Heal (the original employees) and a new brand, we set off! The logo designed was based on three intersecting circles – representing the three pillars of sustainability – people, planet, and prosperity, which form a Möbius band in the logo chosen when viewed from its end. We added our three principles of sustainable acoustics – connect, protect, enhance – and our new company brand was born. Together with our new vision, ‘Acoustics for a sound world’, our exciting and evolving journey describing and delivering sustainable acoustics began. Our launch event was in a pod on the London Eye, with Marks Barfield architects present to send us on our way.

2014 – A Long Road

Long Stratton Acoustic Modelling Map. It shows a long road, with a number of coloured boxes meeting the road representing the surrounding areas affected by the road.
Long Stratton acoustic modelling map.

Long Stratton was a legacy project from TECP and involved a road scheme and residential development along its length in Norfolk. This project has run the full length of our winding first 10 years and has involved road scheme modelling and Environmental Impact Assessment, residential master planning through the Agent of Change considerations on surrounding businesses. It captures the huge engineering effort required to dive into development on this scale.

McDonalds Logo

2014 – Managing McDonald’s Noise Impacts on Communities

Acoustic Map Surrounding one of the McDonalds Sites. It shows the mcdonalds site from a birds-eye view on google maps. It has a number of overlapping tear drop-shaped areas surrounding the site, showing the Sound Pressure Level measured at each distance from the site. A large majority of the area is green, showing that the SPL is acceptable for nearby residents.
Acoustic map surrounding one of the McDonalds sites.

We began BIG with one of the global fast-food brands, with aims to change and manage their impacts through our involvement. We agreed on a menu of robust noise impact assessment options, which were used to manage their expansion of operations overnight across the UK and transition to a franchisee-dominated business. We focused on car park and drive-through noise, people noise, plant noise and ordering point noise. After 10 years, we have been involved in the assessments of 96 stores, having felt that we have made a positive impact on as many communities and changed their approach.

2015 – The Importance of Arts: Life’s a Stage

Shown is a number of acoustics measurement devices placed on the stage of the lighthouse, poole.
Acoustic measurements being taken at the Lighthouse, Poole.

Lighthouse, Poole - SAL acted as the acoustic specialists for the refurbishment of the well-known Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts. Working alongside award-winning Winchester architect, Design Engine, SAL assisted in the £5.3 million refurb of the iconic building, Britain’s largest regional arts centre. Assessment of the audience experience resulted in little changes to the hall, but an extensive refurbishment of the surrounding studios, including the theatre, with sustainable materials being used as an important consideration of this project and excellent feedback resulting.

Shown is a full orchestra playing at the Lighthouse, Poole.
An orchestral performance in the Lighthouse, Poole.

2016 – From Waste Tip to Sport

Acoustic Map of the Xcel Stadium. There is red shading covering the Xcel, with the shading getting lighter as you get further from it. The shading represents Sound Power Level. The map also shows the neighbouring properties
Acoustic map of the Xcel stadium.

Waterside Drive was a contaminated land (previously a landfill site) on the banks of the Thames, Walton-on-Thames, which was restored to use and a sporting athletics stadium constructed called the XceL. Care was taken to not impact residents on the far bank of the river with noise from the PA systems, and sporting event audiences by including a sequence of large interlocking bunds, which screened them from noise and made use of spoil from the site. This together with careful specifications of the sound systems, including computer modelling achieved a spectacular transformation of the land, which still was able to allow dog walkers through the high maze of bunds. 

June 27, 2017 – Powered by Green Energy

Our rented offices in central Winchester were switched to be powered by 100% new green energy, supplied by Ecotricity, and we upgraded our insulation and lighting to LED. We were on our way to becoming a low-carbon company but were hampered by having leased premises. Sustainable Acoustics was awarded the Silver Standard in the National Green Impact Awards.

2018 – Exemplar Special Hearing Needs School with Strong Eco-credentials

Mary Hare School is the largest school for deaf children and young people in the UK, located in Newbury, Berkshire. Students are immersed in the English language, both spoken and written, without the use of BSL and the pupils thrive on learning to use their voice. Sustainable Acoustics delivered the acoustic design and testing for the new primary school which opened its doors in 2022.

Mary Hare SEN School 3D CAD model. It shows the building, which is a circular shape, surrounded by greenery. The building consists of limestone-coloured bricks, a light grey textured rood, and windows around the circumference.
Mary Hare SEN School 3D CAD model.

Mary Hare School overlooks a major road near Newbury and is a facility specialising in the education of the hearing impaired, combining a new school build with new dormitories. Sustainable Acoustics worked with Architecture PLB to make sure the acoustics are of the highest SEN standard, optimised throughout whilst using CLT and a low carbon design. Care needed to be taken to keep sound bleed and reverberation times low. The courtyard area was designed and implemented to provide a quiet inside area where pupils can be. The results met the optimised standards.

2019 – Protecting the Yeomen at the Tower 

An event taking place in the north moat of the Tower of London. Pictured is a marquee filled with bright lights and around 50 guests, all taking place in front of one of the walls of the Tower of London
An event taking place in the north moat of the Tower of London.

Along with poppies in the moat, entertainment in the north moat of the Tower of London presented unique challenges. Historic Royal Palaces required stringent noise conditions to be met within Yeoman’s homes situated within the walls of the tower. Events take place in a marquee that is within 3m of the houses at its closest point and the arrow slits in the walls allow sound through into the premises with ease. A temporary acoustic enclosure was designed and placed within the marquee and tight control of bass frequencies was achieved to enable the event to happen without complaint. This enables the events to run here, where previously they were not able to, therefore allowing this historic monument to create revenue for its upkeep.    

An image of a virus similar to COVID-19

Spring 2020 - Then Came COVID-19 – Ctr-Alt-Delete

The Covid 19 global pandemic swept the planet and we all experienced the first of many UK lockdowns which affect every aspect of our daily lives. Our hearts go out to the many people who suffered during the pandemic. COVID-19 brought many challenges and many insights to adaption. One of the biggest learnings is the interconnectedness between humans, access to the outside environment and nature and their part and place in the health of the planet. It has emphasised the need for access to good outside space, a wider range of use of our homes to do everything from school to work as well as rest, resilient and equitable systems that prioritise both human well-being and environmental health. We found out what happened when the world’s human population switched off, much like a computer reboot, and there is much to learn from it.  

2020: BOOM – Where Science Sounds Amazing!

An image of the Winchester Science Centre after the 2020 renovations. Pictured are two buildings, one white and pyramidal, and one that is white and spherical in shape. They are surrounded by the lush greenery of the South Downs National Park.
An image of the Winchester Science Centre after the 2020 rennovations.

Winchester Science Centre – After the lockdowns, a new-looking and sounding science centre opened its doors to the next generation of wonder seekers. SAL acted as an acoustic curator of sound during the development of the new-looking and fabulous-sounding cathedral of science located on the gateway to the South Downs National Park just outside Winchester.  What began as a ‘how-to include some exhibit on sound and improve the acoustics’ became a 1 million pound upgrade which created a journey through sound for the visitor and improvements aimed at making it as inclusive to visitors as possible. This put sound central to the experience to spark curiosity and gave us the ability to tap into the visitors for some citizen science about their perception of soundscapes over lockdown.

2021 - Seismic Goes to the Acoustic Labs

During this year, we got to test some experimental lightweight volumetric systems in the Acoustics Labs of SRL, which worked with construction materials to optimise their acoustic performance to do more with less. This evidence was used to go into constructing barracks for the MOD, aimed at providing net zero solutions and good health and well-being for recruits during their training.

2022 - Reaching the Acoustics World with Our Message

This was also the year we published our first sustainability report and delivered a series of papers to the International Acoustics conference – Internoise 2022 in Glasgow – themed ‘Noise Control in a More Sustainable Future’. We also chaired the main session, presenting how things can be done differently.  

2023 - Our New Home & Helping the Police

The outside front of Sustainable Acoustics' new office. Pictured is a wooden-clad building with glass doors featuring the sustainable acoustics logo. Above the building is blue sky, and next to the building is a blue car
The outside front of Sustainable Acoustics' new office.

Sustainable Acoustics moves into our new sustainable office just outside Winchester in the South Downs National Park, in Upham. Our new office is a BREEAM excellent building, powered by new green energy provided by Ecotricty, providing for all of our office energy needs. The office was refurbished using the principles of biophilia to inspire our staff daily to deliver impactful and sustainable acoustics for our clients and wider stakeholders.  

During 2023, we worked with Thames Valley Police to pilot how they can improve the health and wellbeing of their staff, and the interactions with victims by improving the acoustics of the station. This work remains underway in an exciting application of soundscape internally, as well as traditional acoustics methods.

April 2024 – Celebrating 10 - We have a great team of 10!

Sustainable Acoustics has grown to a 10-strong team.

Meet the Sustainable Acoustics team! Pictured are 10 individuals that work for sustainable acoustics. They are stood against a railing and are leaning over and looking down to the floor below from which the picture was taken.
Meet the Sustainable Acoustics team!

10 goals going forward, towards 2030 for the next 6 years:

  1. Launch our new transformative business strategy.

  2. Instal PV Solar Panels on our new office roof.

  3. Our environmental management systems to become certified to ISO14001.

  4. Become a B Corporation.

  5. Meet our target to halve our emissions of GHC gases as part of our commitment to become Net Zero.

  6. Encourage and support our suppliers on their journeys toward sustainability.

  7. Make measurable progress towards our goal of protecting, enhancing, and restoring soundscapes to connect people with nature, protect areas of tranquillity and use acoustics to monitor and help regenerate biodiversity.

  8. Work with others to use acoustic solutions to aid mass adoption of renewables and low-carbon technologies such as Heat Pumps, Wind Power, Solar Farms and domestic PVs in the UK.

  9. Work with others to inspire the next generation to co-create a world where, through the incredible fusion of art and science within Acoustics, people and the planet thrive.

  10. Become Net Zero by 2030, if not 2025!

Our mission to deliver ‘Acoustics for Life’ is coming to life and we have not a minute to waste…

Written by Peter and Diana Rogers, Directors and owners of Sustainable Acoustics


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