ASHRAE PMP Acoustical Testing

ASHRAE PMP Acoustical Testing

Setting benchmarks and measuring building performance is vital to designing successful “green” or high efficiency buildings. ASHRAE developed a set of Performance Measurement Protocols (PMP) to provide consistent test methods for the industry to measure energy, water, and indoor environmental quality performance of commercial buildings. The indoor environmental quality section includes acoustical measurements to assess things like background noise levels, speech privacy, reverberation, and sound isolation depending on the building usage. ASHRAE is working on evaluating and updating the PMP guidelines. As part of the process they commissioned a full series of measurements per the current PMP for a number of buildings. Wave Engineering performed acoustical testing for a LEED Platinum building, the Iowa Energy Center IUB/OCA building, in Des Moines, Iowa. The acoustical measurements in the PMP are divided into three groups: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Basic sound testing involves an occupant survey on acoustics and measurements of the background noise level in A-weighted decibels (dBA), which the client performed themselves. Wave Engineering was enlisted to conduct the Intermediate and Advanced measurements, which require more advanced instrumentation and expertise. The Intermediate level sound testing was performed in several rooms. These tests evaluate the most common sources of annoyance that affect work performance and interfere with communication: background noise and reverberation. Background noise from the HVAC system was measured and reported in octave band levels, dBA, dBC, Noise Criteria (NC), and Room Criteria (RC Mark II). Reverberation Time (T60) was measured in each room and reported in octave and 1/3-octave bands. The Advanced level testing was conducted primarily in a Hearing Room used by the Iowa Utilities Board....