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March 29, 2005: ASHRAE To Study Indoor Noise

March 29, 2005
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ATLANTA - Research to help further studies of how noise impacts productivity has been approved by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE recently approved funding totaling $1.1 million for 11 research projects in the areas of indoor air quality, comfort and health, design tools, safety under extraordinary circumstances, environmental quality, seismic and wind restraint design, operating and maintenance, and high risk, innovative and emerging technology. Among them is "Productivity and Perception Based Evaluation of Indoor Noise Criteria," 1322-RP.

Indoor background noise can dramatically impact occupants by causing annoyance, affecting productivity, hindering speech communication, impacting sleep, and degrading overall occupant comfort and satisfaction, according to principal investigator Lily Wang, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Heating and ventilating systems are commonly the primary source of that noise.

"Because ambient noise is something we continually encounter in our everyday environments, evaluation of that noise is crucial to improve occupant satisfaction," she said.

The study will assess indoor noise criteria systems to evaluate the acceptability of background noise level in buildings, often caused by mechanical systems.

"Our goal is to determine how these systems impact productivity and perceptions," Wang said. "Based on the results, modifications to noise criteria systems may be made, allowing the rating systems to account better for the subjective results."

The project is expected to take 15 months at a cost of $69,638. It is sponsored by ASHRAE's Technical Committee (TC) 2.6, Sound and Vibration.

Publication date: 03/28/2005

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