The new Life Sciences Laboratories at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst was developed to provide state-of-the-art laboratory space for interdisciplinary clusters engaged in cutting edge research. The $156 million project comprises 310,000 GSF of space on multiple levels, including a basement and a mechanical penthouse. The upper floors include multiple research laboratories, offices, colloquium rooms, and conference rooms.

Acentech was asked to address architectural acoustics for the various spaces in the building, mechanical system noise and vibration control, footfall-induced vibration control, and noise and vibration control for two large emergency generators. There was also a concern about noise to the community from the numerous laboratory exhaust fans, due to the building’s proximity to the edge of campus. Acentech guided the design team to select quiet exhaust fans, and helped to integrate attenuation into the exhaust discharges.

Acentech also provided real-time vibration monitoring to ensure that the construction of the Laboratory Science Building did not disturb the surrounding vibration sensitive facilities. Tests before construction began measured the potential impact of construction equipment to neighboring research, which allowed the design team to establish a plan for continuous monitoring. During construction, Acentech installed monitors in five buildings bordering the construction site. The monitoring alerted the construction team when vibrations approached pre-set thresholds so they were able to modify methods in order to accomplish the work within accepted limits.

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