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....
Featured Project: St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church

Featured Project: St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church

Wave Engineering recently had the pleasure of working with St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church near Denver, CO to enhance the acoustics of their sanctuary. We used EASE acoustical modeling software to investigate changes to the surface finishes and shape of the room in order to maintain speech intelligibility and improve projection from the choir loft. As part of our analysis we also had the opportunity to research optimum acoustics for Byzantine chant, which is a key component of Greek Orthodox services. As you can see in the photos, the sanctuary is a beautiful space with multiple arches and domes, which also made it tricky to model in the software. Fortunately, Tim Politis with 1ine Studio provided a detailed SketchUp model of the room as a starting point. The EASE model allowed us to look at many different acoustical metrics in addition to the traditional reverberation time, and we were able to map the effect of different options across the seating area. This better informed the changes to the choir loft. We also used EASE to create auralizations of the different options, and we presented these on headphones to the church representatives so that they could hear and evaluate the changes. One of the elements we modeled was how much the reverberation would change with occupancy since the pews are not padded. Listen to the speech and chant clips below to hear the difference between the empty room and fully occupied, for example. Audio files: Speech – Unoccupied Speech – Fully Occupied Speech – Chant Unoccupied Speech – Chant Occupied For a complex room, 3D acoustical modeling provides a wealth...
Shooting Range Acoustic Consulting & Noise Control

Shooting Range Acoustic Consulting & Noise Control

Shooting Range Noise Sound transmission from gun ranges has become a growing concern as shooting sports increase in popularity, and firing ranges are built in close proximity to retail areas and residential districts. We work with developers, architects, engineers, and city planners to evaluate potential noise concerns from shooting facilities. Wave Engineering, Inc. evaluates new and existing ranges with computer modeling and on site sound measurements, and can assist with exterior noise, permitting, and compliance with state and local noise codes and ordinances. We can also recommend acoustic treatments to control noise and reverberation inside the range, retail, and classroom areas. For more information, please watch our video profile on gun range noise and acoustics, below… HVAC systems shown in this video are by Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation. To Get Help With Your Shooting Range Project Contact Us...
STC Testing to Evaluate Privacy Concerns

STC Testing to Evaluate Privacy Concerns

What is Noise Intrusion? Noise is typically defined as any unwanted sound. Unwanted sound can distract us from our daily lives (sleep, work, and personal time). While poor sound isolation is often attributed to noises we don’t want to hear, it can also result in sounds we don’t want heard. This can occur in Medical Office Buildings (MOB) where HIPAA speech privacy requirements dictate patient-doctor conversations remain private. Federal and State governments also have confidentiality requirements for specific spaces in their facilities. In residential multi-family dwellings such as apartments, condominiums, and townhomes, privacy complaints can become a problem that Homeowners Associations (HOAs) must address. Building codes also have minimum sound isolation criteria for multi-family dwellings. Wave Engineering can perform field tests on existing wall and floor-ceiling assemblies (in offices, residential units, townhomes, etc.). We then use the test data to identify the problem and recommend solutions. Sound Transmission Class – STC Tests The Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a single-number rating used to quantify the sound isolation of a wall or floor-ceiling assembly. The higher the STC, the better the partition is at reducing sound transmission between spaces. STC tests are usually performed in an acoustic laboratory. In an existing building, Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC) tests are performed. ASTC tests require us to generate loud pink noise on one side of the partition, and to measure the sound level on both sides.  We must also measure reverberation time on receiving side.  A typical test takes one to two hours to complete.   For more information on the ASTC test services Wave Engineering offers, please visit our ASTC Services...