Acoustic Performance | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: Healthcare | v4 - LEED v4

Acoustic Performance

Possible 2 points


To provide workspaces and classrooms that promote occupants’ well-being, productivity, and communications through effective acoustic design.


Design the facility to meet or exceed the sound and vibration criteria outlined below, which are adapted from the 2010 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities (“2010 FGI Guidelines”) and the reference document on which it is based, Sound and Vibration Design Guidelines for Health Care Facilities (“2010 SV Guidelines”).

Option 1. Speech Privacy, Sound Isolation, and Background Noise (1 point)
Speech Privacy and Sound Isolation

Design sound isolation to achieve speech privacy, acoustical comfort, and minimal annoyance from noise-producing sources. Consider sound levels at both source and receiver locations, the background sound at receiver locations, and the occupants’ acoustical privacy and acoustical comfort needs. Speech privacy is defined as “techniques … to render speech unintelligible to casual listeners” (ANSI T1.523-2001, Telecom Glossary 2007).
Design the facility to meet the criteria outlined in the sections of Table 1.2-3, Design Criteria for Minimum Sound Isolation Performance between Enclosed Rooms, and Table 1.2-4 Speech Privacy for Enclosed Room and Open-Plan Spaces (in the 2010 FGI Guidelines and 2010 SV Guidelines).
Calculate or measure sound isolation and speech privacy descriptors achieved for representative adjacencies as necessary to confirm compliance with the criteria in the 2010 FGI Guidelines, Sections1.2-6.1.5 and 1.2-6.1.6, and the 2010 SV Guidelines (including the appendix).

Background Noise

Consider background noise levels generated by all building mechanical-electrical-plumbing systems, air distribution systems and other facility noise sources under the purview of the project building design-construction team.

Design the facility to meet the 2010 FGI Guidelines, Table 1.2-2 Minimum-Maximum Design Criteria for Noise in representative interior rooms and spaces.

Calculate or measure sound levels in representative rooms and spaces of each type to confirm compliance with criteria in the above-referenced table using a sound level meter that conforms to ANSI S1.4 for type 1 (precision) or type 2 (general purpose) sound measurement instrumentation. For spaces not listed in Table 1.2-2, refer to ASHRAE 2011 Handbook, Chapter 48, Sound and Vibration Control, Table 1.

Option 2. Acoustical Finishes and Site Exterior Noise (1 point)

Meet the requirements for acoustical finishes and site exterior noise.

Acoustical Finishes

Specify materials, products systems installation details, and other design features to meet the 2010 FGI Guidelines, Table 1.2-1, Design Room Sound Absorption Coefficients (including associated sections of the appendix) and the 2010 SV Guidelines.
Calculate or measure the average sound absorption coefficients for representative unoccupied rooms of each type in the building to confirm conformance with the requirements.

Site Exterior Noise
Minimize the effect on building occupants of site exterior noise produced by road traffic, aircraft flyovers, railroads, on-site heliports, emergency power generators during maintenance testing, outdoor facility MEP and building services equipment, etc. Also minimize effects on the surrounding community from all facility MEP equipment and activities as required to meet (1) local applicable codes or (2) Table 1.2-1 of the 2010 FGI Guidelines, Table 1.2-1, and the 2010 SV Guidelines, Table 1.3-1, whichever is more stringent.
Comply with the 2010 FGI Guidelines for the following noise sources:

  • heliports, A1.3-;
  • generators, 2.1-;
  • mechanical equipment, 2.1-;
  • building services, A2.2-5.3

Measure and analyze data to determine the exterior noise classification (A, B, C, or D) of the facility site. See the 2010 FGI Guidelines, Categorization of Health Care Facility Sites by Exterior Ambient Sound, Table A1.2a, and the 2010 SV Guidelines, Table 1.3-1.
Design the building envelope composite STC rating based on the 2010 FGI Guidelines, Categorization of Health Care Facility Sites by Exterior Ambient Sound, and show conformance with requirements.
For exterior site exposure categories B, C, or D, calculate or measure the sound isolation performance of representative elements of the exterior building envelope to determine the composite sound transmission class (STCc) rating for representative façade sections. Measurements should generally conform to ASTM E966, Standard Guide for Field Measurements of Airborne Sound Insulation of Building Façades and Façade Elements, current edition.

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