A Homeowners Guide to Quiet Mark
What is Quiet Mark and what does it mean to homeowners and tenants?
Since its ground-breaking launch 10 years ago in January 2012, Quiet Mark, the independent global certification programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society, has pioneered a platform for consumers and industry specifiers to easily find the quietest high-performance products and leading solutions to unwanted noise, to support public health and wellbeing.
“Because sound measurement is complex and not easily understood, consumers don’t have time to evaluate and compare the sound output of each product, yet an ear-splitting juicer sounding off every morning, pings and bleeps from appliances, a rumbling shower pump or annoying extractor affects concentration, makes one irritated and builds up unnecessary stress which can affect health negatively in the long term.’ comments Poppy Szkiler Quiet Mark’s CEO & Co-Founder.
“We felt it was very important for consumers and trade buyers to have an expert definitive guide to the quietest products currently on the market, year on year, across all product categories. Quiet Mark was created as the trusted third-party certification programme to serve public health, supported by expert acoustic evaluation.
The aim of the long-established Noise Abatement Society charitable foundation, (est1959) is to improve the quality of the aural environment to improve health and well-being. At Quiet Mark, we support this aim in the area of appliance technology and building materials, by providing purchasers with the information they really need to make enlightened decisions to achieve a peaceful and productive environment.
“Quiet Mark does all the in-depth science testing and technical triangulations. It is an easily understood global approval system, profiling the products which are quietest in category in an area that had never been addressed before, empowering the consumer to exercise purchasing choice for the products they share their lives with whilst encouraging manufacturers to design-in noise reduction at R&D stage.
Today, over 1,000 appliances and acoustic materials, from 90+ global brands, across more than 70+ product categories, have passed the expert technical acoustic assessments to achieve Quiet Mark certification. When buyers see the distinctive purple Q certification logo alongside a product, they know it’s one of the quietest, most pleasant sounding or most technically effective in noise reduction or acoustic properties in-category, available on the current market.
How many heating products go through Quiet Mark testing each year and how is quiet mark accreditation achieved?
All boilers and heat pumps are acoustically tested prior to coming to market. This is carried out to specific ISO standards, within which decibel levels are declared and included on the energy label of each unit.
As this testing has already been carried out, the Quiet Mark acoustician team uses this information to make assessments and certifications across a wide range of heating products. We also split them into like-for-like sub-categories, so combi boilers of a similar kW output are compared together, as are system boilers of different kW outputs.
We assess the declared sound measurements of approximately 400 boilers every year. Only the quietest 20% of any heating sub-category eligible for the Quiet Mark certification. Currently, 27 Vaillant boilers are amongst the produce with the lowest sound levels necessary to qualify for Quiet Mark certification.
When it comes to Heat Pumps, we assess the declared decibel levels of approximately 375 models each year. 18 Vaillant heat pumps have achieved Quiet Mark certification.
Why should people pay attention to unwanted noise and noise pollution in their daily life?
Exposure to high levels of noise affects everyone a little differently. Children in general are more sensitive to excessive levels of noise, along with the chronically ill or elderly people. Adults who work in especially noisy environments also experience higher levels of stress and fatigue. Continual noise may disturb sleep patterns which could lead to health problems, especially serious for children as it may impair childhood development.
Quiet Mark’s National Noise Report, released in October 2021, further demonstrates the increasing demand for noise reduction solutions, both in households and workplaces. The research was carried out across 2,000 UK adults, 18 months after the first lockdown, and examined attitudes towards noise in the new pandemic-recovery scenario. The findings highlight the importance of a quieter home with over four fifths of people stating they would like quieter appliances and two thirds of 18-34 year olds wishing to have a quieter home.
Research from the British Journal of Psychology found that background noise impairs productivity levels, with studies showing that if you can hear someone talking while you are reading or writing your productivity dips by up to 66%.
“This applies as much to work from home as it does within a commercial office space. Those noisy distractions which zap our productivity mean that we spend more time completing certain tasks. This can result in longer work hours, leading to increased stress levels. Feelings of anxiety can keep us awake at night, impacting our sleep health, preventing us from recuperating and feeling well,” says Simon Gosling, CMO of Quiet Mark and host of The Quiet Mark Podcast.
Is there anything additional homeowners can do to ensure the products are the quietest they can be?
42% of boilers are located in UK people's kitchens. A boiler can be put inside a kitchen cabinet, to help contain some sound, however there are some regulations that need to be adhered to, and expert advice should always be sought from the manufacturer/ approved installation engineer.
The lockdowns during Covid required many of us to work from home, and often at our kitchen tables, so it’s more important now than ever before, to ‘buy-quiet’. Whilst any single Quiet Mark certified product can help to improve the acoustic comfort of a space, it’s the curation of a selection of quieter appliances and acoustic building materials that enable you to orchestrate the healthiest domestic soundscape, to suit your personal needs.