The future of classroom environments just got a little quieter, thanks to the recent certification of Changeair’s Freshman Series Vertical Air Handler by the Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) Intl. Inc. The Freshman Series is the first and only single-room air handler to be certified by AMCA’s Certified Ratings Program (CRP) for both air and sound performance.  The CRP was recently amended to include fully packaged single-room air handlers in its Product Rating Manual for Fan Air Performance.

The certification and the amendment are celebratory developments for the engineering community, educators, and students because they open the door to better and more affordable acoustic design in classroom environments. The AMCA certification of the Freshman Series means that the sound and airflow test data was gathered in an AMCA-certified laboratory and is third-party certified to be accurate. Test methods used to gather sound data on the Freshman Series comply with all of the following standards:

  • Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) 260 — Sound rating of ducted air moving and condition equipment.
  • AMCA Standard 300-08 — Reverberant room method for sound testing of fans.
  • ANSI/ASA Standard S12.60-2010 — Acoustical performance criteria, design requirements, and guidelines for schools.

More Reliable Prediction of Background Noise

Prior to this certification, engineers had no way of reliably comparing or predicting the sound performance of air-handling equipment in a classroom because test methodology tends to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, yielding data that is impossible to compare and often misleading.  Testing in an AMCA-certified reverberant lab eliminates testing variables and provides data that is both accurate and relevant to classroom applications. 

“This brings a whole new comfort level to those specifying equipment for the classroom because it means they know exactly what they are going to get when they specify an air handler certified under this particular standard,” said Mark Long, manager of engineering for Systemair, parent company of Changeair.

Better Acoustics for All

Single-room air handlers like the Freshman Series offer design flexibility, efficiency, and comfort for classroom spaces; however, engineers and school boards often avoid them because of the potential for excessive mechanical noise. AMCA’s sound performance certification removes that uncertainty.

Certified test results of the Freshman Series equipment shows that it meets background noise criteria that is frequently referenced in green school guidelines, meaning that its operation within a space should not compromise students’ ability to clearly understand the teacher. In fact, a school cannot receive LEED certification without meeting AMCA 300 and ANSI S12.60. Unfortunately, very few schools have funding to become LEED certified, so engineers have been limited in their ability to protect students from excessive mechanical noise. Now they have the option of specifying equipment that is AMCA certified for air and sound, and meets ANSI S12.60 for acoustical performance.

“Few things are as critical to a learning environment as classroom acoustics,“ said Kevin McGachy, product manager for Changeair. „Having access to certified sound data empowers schools and engineers to make better choices for students. It’s a major step forward in the journey toward quieter classrooms.”

AMCA certified Freshman Series air handlers are available in a variety of configurations, including those with heating and/or cooling coils, outdoor air ventilation, and even energy recovery. All sizes and almost all configurations of the Freshman air handler have been AMCA certified.

Publication date: 4/5/2019

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!