Making Buildings Earth-Friendly and Ear-Friendly Expanses of windows let natural light flood open spaces and reduce the need for energy-consuming artificial light. Hard surfaces lessen potential for mold growth and dust collection. And high-tech, energy-efficient heating and air systems reduce reliance on fossil fuels. All of these design modifications make classrooms, offices, hotels and community ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   March 01, 2015
Making Buildings Earth-Friendly and Ear-Friendly
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Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / School-Based Settings / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   March 01, 2015
Making Buildings Earth-Friendly and Ear-Friendly
The ASHA Leader, March 2015, Vol. 20, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB5.20032015.12
The ASHA Leader, March 2015, Vol. 20, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB5.20032015.12
Expanses of windows let natural light flood open spaces and reduce the need for energy-consuming artificial light. Hard surfaces lessen potential for mold growth and dust collection. And high-tech, energy-efficient heating and air systems reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
All of these design modifications make classrooms, offices, hotels and community buildings healthier for occupants and better for the planet. But fill those airy, sleek spaces with dozens of kids or hundreds of employees, and noise levels quickly rise to distracting and potentially harmful levels.
The U.S. Green Building Council, the organization that created Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines, updated these sustainability requirements in 2014. As part of that update, the USGBC added a new section on acoustic performance, thanks to input received during five public comment periods.
Now educational, community and commercial buildings can be awarded one LEED certification point for design that provides acoustic comfort. To earn that point, interior spaces must contain noise-reduction characteristics that abate sound transmissions from outside as well as inside. Qualifying features must protect occupants from traffic noise, HVAC or other mechanical systems, and voice spillover in gathering spaces. In addition, including environmentally friendly, soft materials that diminish reverberation also help the building’s design team earn the new acoustics credit.
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March 2015
Volume 20, Issue 3