blog of acoustics, noise, vibration & audio-visual systems
Good Newsâ€¦ after long delays, LEED for Health Care was finally released for public consumption! This blog provides a basic overview of how to meet the new acoustical requirements in LEED HC. In fact, your next LEED for Healthcare project can gain two points just by following good acoustical design practices that protect patient medical records, increase patient satisfaction, and provide for a quieter workplace. (more)
Multi-use school facilities (such as â€ścafetoriumsâ€ť – cafeterias that double as auditoriums) are popping up all over Michigan because they save space and save money. But many schools are finding that they are not well-suited to serve multiple purposes. So how can multi-use facilities be optimized for both utility (think cafeteria) and performance (think auditorium)? (more)
I recently received a call from a pastor asking how to enhance their congregational singing. The church had recently inherited a new building, and the pastor was concerned that the congregational singing was just not â€śwhat it should beâ€ť. The band was great, and they rocked the place out. But the congregation was feeling a bit overwhelmed and â€ślost in the crowdâ€ť. (more)
I was recently interviewed by College Planning & Management magazine for their article on “How schools can create cafeterias and other social spaces to shout about, not over?” These spaces are where university students come to dine, to study, to relax, and to socialize, so why are they always so loud? And more importantly, what can be done to optimize these spaces for sound? Read the full article here http://www.peterli.com/cpm/resources/articles/archive.php?article_id=2616.
The phrase â€śEqual Accessâ€ť might not be very exciting, but it represents what many perceive to be a fundamental right of modern society. Every building built in the last 20 years has personified â€śEqual Accessâ€ť by including doors wide enough for a wheelchair, elevator signage with braille lettering for blind persons, and auditoriums with hearing assist systems for those hard of hearing. While children in wheelchairs have â€śEqual Access to Learningâ€ť in school classrooms today, those with hearing difficulties are denied the same opportunity. In many classrooms, the students cannot hear the teacher due to the loud mechanical system or the nearby airport. And, if they canâ€™t hear, they canâ€™t learn. But thatâ€™s all about to change. (more)
The LEEDÂ® green building certification program gives out points for naturally ventilating buildings, and it also gives out points for acoustics – especially for low levels of background noise levels. As the industry is finding out, naturally ventilated buildings create more opportunities for buildings to be penetrated by exterior noises, thus creating unintended loud background noise levels. I was interviewed by Buildings Magazine for their article, Fresh Air Creates Fresh Acoustical Concerns. Read the whole article here… http://www.buildings.com/ArticleDetails/tabid/3321/ArticleID/10021/Default.aspx
In the days of the ancient Romans, crowds would gather by the thousands in the amphitheater to see a wide range of events: public ceremonies honoring brave soldiers, performances of dramatic presentations, or the gruesome games of the gladiators. Although the events were a visual extravaganza, the amphitheater and coliseum were also designed acoustically to allow the entire audience to hear. Fast forward two thousand years, and we still gather in large groups to see college graduations, rock concerts, sporting events, and more. Two of the primary senses that are titillating to the large masses still remain the same: visual and aural stimulation. (more)
The 2010 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities was published in January and adopted as building code by many states. How will you deal with the new noise, privacy, and acoustical requirements for healthcare facilities? Join us at SoundHealthcare 2010, a Health Care Acoustics Training Seminar, and find out what you must know about the new FGI Guidelines for HIPAA Compliance and LEED HC.Â The new guidelines are the culmination of over five years of collaborative work by researchers, architects, engineers, and acoustical consultants to solve the problems of speech privacy and excessive noise in hospitals. The guidelines are effective immediately for the design of all healthcare facilities. For perspective, consider the 2006 Guidelines which mandated single patient rooms in hospitals. As a result, single patient rooms are the absolute standard in healthcare design today. This was an overnight seismic shift in policy that affected all healthcare building projects. Well, the 2010 Guidelines are no different in their sweeping reforms, addressing a whole new dimension of healthcare design, namely: acoustics, noise, and HIPAA speech privacy laws. (more)
Who Can See the Wind?
(by Christina Georgina Rossetti)
Who can see the wind? Neither you nor I
But when the leaves are trembling
The wind is passing by!
Who can see the wind? Neither I nor you
But when the trees are bending low
The wind is passing through!
As this children’s poem points out, the wind’s affect on the surrounding environment is a beautiful thing. But if you live near one of the many “wind farms” popping up all over the country, you may disagree. If that’s you, then “seeing the wind” means 400 foot tall wind turbines interrupting your landscape, and “hearing the wind” may mean loud “whirring” and “whoosh” sounds keeping you awake at night. (more)
Acoustics By Design has been selected for a 2009 “Best of” Award in the Acoustical Engineering category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA). The “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. (more)
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Some acoustical environments are straightforward in purpose. A movie theatre, for example, needs to project the sound of the movie with precision and clarity to all seats in the house. Most acoustical environments, however, have varying needs which are dependent on their content and delivery, and the Church is no exception. Today’s churches use a wide variety of forms of aural communication – drama, dance, video, soloists, choirs, the spoken word, and so on. But by far, the two most prominent aural elements in church services are music and the spoken word; two elements that require vastly different (and somewhat conflicting) acoustical environments. Today we will explore the optimal environments for both. (more)
It’s official! The all new LEED Version 3 has been launched by the U.S. Green Building Council. The new system makes several big changes that affect everyone from architects and engineers to builders and building owners. This information is especially important if you are working on a LEED project or if you are a LEED Accredited Professional. Here are some of the initial updates at a glance: (more)
Great acoustical design now plays a key role in sustainable healthcare design and the healing environment. If you are the architect, engineer, interior designer, or user of a healthcare facility, we set out to give you the most up to date information regarding the current state of acoustics, noise, and vibration in healthcare facility design. As industry leaders in this rapidly changing market, Acoustics By Design president Kenric Van Wyk delivered a keynote presentation at a recent regional AIA Health Facilities Planning Seminar.Â Key points include:
Where will future trends in acoustics, noise and vibration take the healthcare market? How will healthcare patients be the ultimate winners?Â Find out now! Download The Perfect Storm: Why Acoustics Suddenly Matter in Healthcare Design.
For centuries, traditional church architecture has been pregnant with meaning and symbolism. The building itself, from interior to exterior, is meant to carry a visual message that transcends language. This is why art and aesthetics play an uncompromising role in traditional church architectural planning: because they help to convey the truth of that ancient message. The traditions are upheld by creating spiritually (and aesthetically) rich environments through the use of symbolism and focal points – ornate crosses, stained glass windows, and so on. When our acoustical engineers and audio-visual design consultants (many of whom are dedicated church members and volunteers themselves) meet with churches leaders to discuss their needs, there always seems to be some tension between art and audio. So, which should take priority? (more)
The LEED Green Building Rating SystemTM is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED was created by the U.S. Green Building Council to define “green building” through a common standard, and to promote integrated, whole-building design practices. There are several categories of LEED building certification programs including: LEED for New Construction, LEED for Existing Buildings, LEED for Schools, and LEED for Retail, just to name a few. And as of last week, the U.S.G.B.C. announced plans to adopt a new LEED category in 2009: Healthcare. (more)
OSHA, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has long had policies regulating noise in the workplace. Their “Hearing Conservation Program” is designed to protect workers from suffering hearing loss even if they are subject to loud noise exposures over their entire working lifetimes. But navigating the waters of OSHA’s 1910.95 Noise Exposure Standards document can be a difficult (and daunting) task, and many industrial facilities are happy to outsource this task to the nearest hearing protection salesperson. Unfortunately in this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. (more)
Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College, Pennsylvania isn’t just the first LEED Certified ballpark in the world – it’s the only one (to date). Known as “The Med”, the new ballpark raises the bar in “green” sports facility design in several areas: water conservation, waste management, and recycled materials. Acoustics By Design first learned of the ballpark’s achievement while attending the MAPPA conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Madison, Wisconsin. (more)
Ask typical movie goers for the definition of an IMAX Theatre, and they will likely give you an unclear response about a big screen and loud sound. On these points they would be right – but only as a vague definition. You see, the IMAX Corporation has gone to great lengths to make sure that every IMAX-certified theatre actually delivers what they consider to be “The IMAX Experience Â®.” They want to make sure that the IMAX brand truly means something to consumers – something more than “a big screen and loud sound.” And if that IMAX brand is to mean anything, then every IMAX Theatre must deliver the same high quality movie experience from Los Angeles to New York to your hometown, and so on. This is achieved through the process of IMAX certification, which involves enforcing stringent specifications in two realms: film production and theater design. (more)
Recently we were called in to consult on some highway noise that was affecting a residential community. The state had added a new exit ramp that diverged right through the back property lines of several of the residences. While we talked with one of the home owners, he asked about the acoustical effects of planting more trees and foliage between his house and the new exit ramp. As Acoustical Consultants, this is something we hear all the time: the idea that trees and plants can effectively mitigate loud noise. Hopefully, this blog will help put to rest some of the myths about acoustical attributes of trees: where they fail and where they succeed. (more)
In the “old days” of trial litigation, lawyers were expected to present their arguments and evidence through one of several basic modes of communication: namely the spoken word, the written word, and physical evidence. And the best evidence always seemed to be an eye-witness account or a “smoking gun,” as it were. But as we learned in the 1990s, sometimes even the best of leather gloves won’t seem to fit. (more)
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