Ecophon ceiling tiles from CSR Limited are helping to enhance classroom acoustics at a West Sydney-based Catholic school.  

The Holy Family Primary at Granville East is enhancing classroom acoustics in their flexible learning spaces through the specification of various building materials including CSR’s Ecophon ceiling tiles.  

At the cutting edge of acoustic design for more than 50 years, Ecophon specialises in a wide range of ceiling solutions for environments requiring superior acoustics such as education and healthcare.  

According to CSR Lightweight Systems Architectural Manager, Gavin Bernardino, poor classroom acoustics have a direct impact on the learning ability of students but many Australian educational institutions have failed to address this through building design.   

An independent UK study by academics from Heriot-Watt University found that up to 100% of consonants are being lost in classrooms and long reverberation times were severely hampering pupils’ and teachers’ ability to hear each other clearly, severely impacting the learning process.  

Some Australian schools are moving towards flexible learning spaces accommodating the different ways students learn in the 21st century. Holy Family Primary is an example of a contemporary school that has renovated traditional classrooms into larger, agile learning spaces allowing for multiple class groups in the one space. 

Like many Australian schools, Holy Family’s classrooms are built in brick veneer with numerous windows. The school’s Year 1 classroom is housed in an older building with high ceilings and plaster walls, which do not support good acoustics.   

Glanville Architects specified the Ecophon ceiling tiles in order to make the open classrooms as comfortable as possible for students to learn within large areas. While there would always be noise in a classroom, the reverberation of sound could be minimised with Ecophon ceiling tiles.  

Ecophon ceiling tiles were installed in the school’s first classroom in 2009 by Cooper Constructions through a Government grant, and the difference was noticed instantly. As the flexible learning in open spaces worked well, the school decided to proceed with a second agile learning classroom using funding from the Federal Government BER program with the tiles being installed by Midson Constructions.

Taking a holistic approach to acoustics, Ecophon ceiling tiles were complemented by fully carpeted floors, pin boards and white boards on the walls as well as desks, cupboards and other soft furnishings in the classrooms.  

Ecophon tiles are manufactured from high density glasswool. The visible surface has an Akutex FT coating and the back of the tile is covered with glass tissue while the tile edges are reinforced and painted. Ecophon tiles have been assessed to be free of allergens, perfume and irritating substances.  

Principal of Holy Family Primary, Sue Guilfoyle is really pleased with the end result. The new ceiling tiles have enhanced the room design, making it easier for teachers and students to collaborate on learning activities, while minimising disruptive noise.  

The first classroom was built using 170m² of Ecophon ceiling tiles Focus F, while the second building used 165m² of Ecophon ceiling tiles, Focus A. These ceiling installations achieved an NRC rating of approximately 0.85.  

Ecophon ceiling tiles can be designed for installation directly with screws and adhesive or as lay-in tiles into a ceiling grid. When directly adhered to a set ceiling, a suspended ceiling grid is not required, which ensures there is minimal loss of ceiling height.