Effective acoustics are key to healthy buildings. After all, noise is known to provoke physiological stress responses that can negatively impact occupants. The World Health Organization describes it as an “underestimated threat” that contributes to stress, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and diabetes. Hence, WELL, Fitwel and other building standards take acoustics into consideration; however, it remains a poorly understood indoor environmental quality (IEQ) parameter, and the lowest rated.
Amongst the architecture and design community, there is growing conviction these goals must be achieved through concern with ‘equity’—and applied to ‘real-world’ needs such as acoustical privacy, rather than amenities like pool tables, private chefs, and other perks; in other words, it is more a matter of how employees are treated than what they are being treated to. But what is ‘acoustical equity’? And how does one achieve it?
The first part of this course introduces the concept of acoustical equity and establishes speech privacy as a psychoacoustic metric that can be used to illustrate the concept of acoustical equity, set expectations during design, and estimate occupants’ subjective impression of the built space. The second part explains the key role the ‘C’ in the ‘ABC Rule’ plays in providing beneficial acoustical conditions, by controlling the temporal, spectral and spatial properties of background sound within the built environment. By tuning minimum background sound to meet a masking spectrum rather than leaving it in question, one can more cost-effectively and reliably design buildings to function acoustically for their users.
This course is a Registered Program of AIA/CES and qualifies for 1 LU/HSW.