Reuse of coffee and tea waste for acoustical panel applications in architectural design studios



This study has been initiated with an aim of enhancing the acoustical comfort levels in the architectural studios of Bilkent University in Ankara. Initial assessment of the studios by field tests indicated very long reverberation times, supporting the complaints by the students and instructors. In order to be applied in studio environment, acoustical panels are developed out of recycled materials. The increasing coffee demand and consumption of our era have motivated the reuse of both paper cups and coffee waste.  The end-product is composed of two layers. The outer layer is out of recycled coffee cups, placed in different arrangements in terms of orientation, size, and spacing. The backing layer is a panel of compressed and kiln-dried coffee grains and tea leaves. The coffee/tea residues are adhered together by using natural binders. In order to determine the best possible alternative of the waste materials with the highest sound absorption performance, different density variations have been explored. Both impedance tube tests and acoustical field measurements are utilized during the process of research and development. Considering the increasing demand for green technology, the layered panel system is proposing cost minimized, environmentally friendly, and biodegradable solutions with improved acoustical and aesthetical values.