ARLINGTON, Va. - According to a study conducted by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), retrofitting classrooms to meet the American National Standard Institute's (ANSI) Standard 12.60, "Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools," will create an additional cost of between 4 and 19 percent.

To measure the financial impact of meeting ANSI S12.60, ARI commissioned a study by Armstrong, Torseth, Skold & Rydeen Inc., a Minnesota-based architectural/engineering firm engaged in school construction and renovation of site-built schools. The objectives of the study were:

  • To survey the acoustical performance characteristics for existing classroom construction using various HVACR system types in reference to ANSI S12.60; and

  • To design and estimate the cost to implement the design changes to have the classrooms meet the requirements of ANSI S12.60.

    Sixteen schools were evaluated and three classrooms in each school were studied, for a total of 48 classrooms. The study found:

  • The average ambient noise level in the tested classrooms was 47 dBA. The standard requires classrooms to have an ambient noise level of no more than 35 dBA.;

  • None of the classrooms met the ANSI standard requirements for interior partition sound transmission;

  • All but one of the classrooms passed the reverberation time requirements of the ANSI standard;

  • All but one of the classrooms passed the exterior isolation requirements of the ANSI standard.

    Based on this information, the study redesigned the classrooms to meet ANSI S12.60 requirements and determined the cost of making these modifications would increase a school's construction cost by 4 to 19 percent.

    The executive summary of the report can be downloaded from ARI's Web site at

    Publication date: 07/18/2005