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Acoustics Matters

Acoustics affect critical aspects of a building’s function, from productivity in the office and communication in the classroom, to the price an apartment, condominium or single-family home can command. Understanding how to select a combination of building materials, system designs and construction technologies that will provide the most appropriate sound control is key to creating a successful acoustical design.

Energy from sound waves interacts with every object and surface in a room – some energy may be absorbed or scattered by room furnishings and some energy may reflect off or transmit through partitions.  Sound can bend around barriers and squeeze through small openings, all of which can allow noise to reach surprisingly far beyond its point of origin.  As a result, designers must consider the dynamics of sound when determining how they will control noise within a building.

The basic mechanisms involved in noise control for buildings are sound absorption and sound transmission. Sound absorption is necessary to reduce the reverberation, in a space to help improve clarity of speech and reduce excessive noise within a room. Sound transmission, either airborne or structural, must be reduced to prevent sound from travelling between two spaces.

When it comes to the performance of a space, understanding how and when to correctly use building materials can make all the difference.

Building owners increasingly challenge you to reduce costs and compress schedules. Meanwhile, occupants’ expectations keep growing—especially as they relate to noise.

69 percent of office employees are dissatisfied with noise levels at their primary workspace. What’s the experience of noise in spaces you’ve designed?

Efficiency is important. But to meet owner and occupant expectations, it’s critical to prioritize acoustics as a key design imperative tied directly to human comfort and well-being.