I really enjoy contributing articles to industry publications on the use of sound masking in specific applications, design and technological trends, the best way to engineer and specify systems, and so on. Some topics are extremely popular and get picked up by numerous publications. In this week’s post, I’d like to share three of my current ‘hits’ with you.
Acoustics in Green Buildings
Sustainability has been a hot topic for many years as the trend towards green building has blossomed. It’s an interesting subject because many of the design strategies used to improve airflow, temperature regulation, energy conservation and daylighting have a significant impact on acoustical performance. There are many ways to prevent these issues from cropping up in your building, but first you have to have a solid understanding of the ABCs of effective acoustics and the impact sustainable strategies can have on them.
One article in this vein is The ABCs of Green Acoustics published in the Construction Specifier (see pages 30 to 41)…sounds long, but there are ads in there!
Acoustics in Healthcare
Acoustics is gaining more and more attention in the healthcare field. There’s a lot of research available that outlines the negative impacts of noise not only on patients, but on staff and visitors. Patients typically rate their satisfaction with noise levels the lowest among all aspects of their hospital stay. Some countries – notably the United States – have begun mandating the use of patient surveys and requiring that steps be taken to safeguard speech privacy. They’re enforcing these requirements using financial ‘carrots and sticks.’ New healthcare design and construction guidelines specifically recommend the use of sound masking to address noise and speech privacy concerns.
Click here to read one of these articles: Quiet, please! Achieving effective acoustics in the hospital setting.
How to Specify a Sound Masking System
The final subject – specifying sound masking systems – has also generated a positive response. Unfortunately, they remain one of the most poorly specified building components. In many cases, specs state nothing more than ‘provide a sound masking system’ – no design or performance requirements are included. In other cases, specs ignore the vast differences between different types of systems (i.e. centralized, decentralized and networked), inadvertently limiting competition and performance. In other cases, a generic spec is produced, but the result is a set of requirements that is literally impossible for any system to meet (or perhaps one that you wouldn’t want to meet). In my articles, I focus exclusively on key performance criteria.
An example is Sound Advice: Specifying and procuring sound masking systems published in Construction Canada magazine (see pages 84 to 90).