SOURCE: Cerami & Associates

Cerami & Associates

November 11, 2010 09:00 ET

Green Building Noise Problem Addressed by Greenbuild Panel, Moderated by Cerami & Associates

Session on Sustainable Schools Serves as Model for Acoustically-Sound and Productive Green Workplaces

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 11, 2010) - The challenge of controlling noise in sustainable workplaces, and the progress made by the acoustical requirements of LEED For Schools, are the focus of a panel at Greenbuild in Chicago on November 18, 2010, 2:00 p.m., moderated by Patricia Scanlon of Cerami & Associates. The Education Session, #GR14, "Building Sound Environments: What the Workplace Can Learn From Schools," includes Nicholas Garrison, FXFOWLE; John Woelfling, Dattner Architects; and Amanda Cortese, Dagher Engineering. The U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild International Conference & Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org) is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.

The panel will explore how unwanted environmental noise affects student learning as well as workplace productivity and how interior architectural designers with a green mandate can improve acoustics and consequently the human performance of building occupants.

"Whereas LEED For Schools dictates explicit acoustical requirements to ensure classroom spaces support effective learning, currently there are no such requirements for office spaces," said Ms. Scanlon. "Additionally, open plans, exposed ceilings and minimal material use are sustainable strategies that often create noisy workplaces." Distracting noise is a major complaint in green offices according to a 2006 Center for the Built Environment study where occupants in green office buildings were less satisfied with acoustics than those in non-green spaces.

The panel aims to educate about the common acoustical pitfalls of green building strategies and how these challenges can be averted. A close look at the acoustic requirements adopted by the LEED For Schools program demonstrates how noise must be controlled to provide classrooms in which children can effectively learn. Distracting sounds from air systems, exterior environmental and transferred interior noise, and reverberation all degrade children's ability to concentrate as well as to hear and understand their teachers.

"Both noisy classrooms and workplaces can impede human performance, but the challenges are not exactly parallel," said Ms. Scanlon. "Office cultures and functions vary greatly: a collaborative 'buzz' that's desirable for one company might be considered a deafening racket for another." Informed by the LEED For Schools model, the panel will recommend strategies for a spectrum of workplace environments.

Cerami & Associates is an international acoustics, audiovisual, and technology consulting firm founded in 1965.

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