Smart buildings, smart climate, smart acoustics – an evolution through design
Andrew ParkinView bio
In September I presented at the TABS expert meeting in Sweden. Below is a 17 minute video of the presentation.
In this presentation I looked at how the design of buildings has evolved over time and how this has affected the acoustics. Key points include
- Background noise is important- Now that we are moving away from mechanical ventilation, we have lost the steady background noise that assist in the acoustics of both open plan offices and meeting rooms.
- We are designing building that are Thermally Active Building (TAB)- In the UK we tend to refer to this as exposed thermal mass.
- We don’t use ceilings any more- Certainly in education, and now moving into offices, these ceilings would previously absorb noise.
- Open plan privacy- Acoustic rafts mean that an open plan office can still be a collaborative environment with conversation that do not disturb everyone
- Measurements- Reverberation time is a useless descriptor in large, open plan offices. It varies so much (depending on source and receiver location) that it does not give a true reflection of the space.
Our Birmingham office as a case study
We looked to create an office which showcases good design with acoustic findings including;
- Background noise is important- Between 8.00am and 6.00pm there is consistent 43 dBA (± 1 or 2 dB)
- Thermally Active Building (TAB)- Exposing the soffits harness some of the building’s thermal mass
- We don’t use ceilings any more- We removed the wet press mineral fibre Class D ceilings to gain an extra 1m ceiling height and exposed the services we design, adding acoustic rafts to aid noise absorption. When looking at the spatial decay of noise within a space, there did not appear to be much difference between rafts or ceilings- so, less is more!
- Open plan privacy- Using STI as a measurement, there is a privacy distance of about 13m and distraction distance of 6m. Occupants have been raving about this.
- Measurements- Tested to ISO3882 which is not common in the UK, which we understood why as this was a difficult and time-consuming process.
- Find out more about Cundall – Ideas