Ben Markham, LEED AP, Principal Consultant and Director of Acentech’s Architectural Acoustics Group, identifies the primary concerns with acoustic performance at the building envelope, and offers…
People and the buildings in which they work and live are at the mercy of the environment.
The world is filled with “noise pollution” — any number of noise and vibration sources that may have an adverse effect on your project – and vice versa. From drafting and interpreting community noise ordinances to predicting the noise and vibration impact of transportation systems, Acentech has extensive experience addressing environmental noise issues for industrial, institutional, commercial, and government clients in the United States and globally.
Environmental noise issues may be categorized as project-inward or project-outward:
The effects of the environment on the project. Examples include:
- Vibration and noise from a rail line affecting a nearby residential development
- Noise from a wind farm affecting a nearby community
- Noise from aircraft impacting a public gathering space
- Vibration from a nearby subway line affecting sensitive instruments in a research building
- Noise from a highway being audible inside a lecture hall
Noise and vibration generated by the project itself and has the potential to affect neighboring properties. Examples include:
- Noise from rooftop mechanical systems propagating into a residential neighborhood
- Vibration and noise from a new rail system potentially impacting a community
- Noise from a power plant that must meet regulatory guidelines
- Construction noise impacting a nearby residential area
INDUSTRIAL & TRANSPORTATION NOISE ASSESMENT
Acentech has performed noise assessments for hundreds of environmental, industrial, and transportation projects, providing consulting services to research firms, utilities, architect-engineers, commercial developers, environmental consulting firms, equipment vendors, government agencies, and community groups. We work with clients during the design and permitting of new facilities; we also address noise issues from existing facilities. Environmental noise project examples include:
- Recommendations for a mixed-use development on sound isolation from surrounding area, public spaces and transportation systems (learn more)
- Forecasting and assessment of future noise and vibration impacts of proposed high-speed rail projects
- Structural dynamics analysis of a building that houses vibration sensitive laboratories (learn more)
One particular area of focus for our consultants, and for the future of the environment, involves the power of wind energy. Within this sector, Acentech has experience with:
- Advising on a study protocol submitted for public agency review
- Conducting required long-term sound monitoring programs
- Developing initial sound models for potential wind projects
ACENTECH’S HISTORY WITH WIND POWER
Thirty years ago (in 1987), we measured, analyzed, evaluated, and reported the sound from a wind turbine project for the US Navy at their Tudor Hill Laboratory in Bermuda. Since that time we have provided consulting and measurement services to state and local agencies, a manufacturer, operators, developers, and homeowners helping in the licensing, measurement, evaluation, and reporting of wind turbine environmental sound at many projects in the US. In the past year we have provided environmental sound consulting services on dozens of power projects including wind turbines, conventional energy generation, and institutional facilities; and we have continuously monitored sound and/or vibration at more than 40 locations in the US for wind turbine, medical, and advanced high-tech research facilities.
Our consultants are adept at presenting complex technical information to non-technical people in a way that is clear and understandable. We routinely present technical information on environmental noise at national conferences, speak at public hearings, and serve as expert witnesses during judicial proceedings.