Tag Archive: school

  1. What’s That Noise? Gymnasiums

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    In this ongoing blog series, the acoustic experts of ASI will detail common noise concerns of different environments and offer solutions to resolve any issues. This month’s edition of What’s That Noise? focuses on gymnasiums—wide-open spaces that are highly conducive to generating echoes and reverberation.

    gymnasium_exercise_room_acoustics

    Upon entering a gymnasium, the first thing that people notice—almost immediately—is the noise. At any given time, there are dozens of unwanted sounds fluctuating throughout these recreational facilities. Squeaking sneakers, booming voices and footsteps, and piercing music are only some of the sounds you’ll encounter regularly.

    Gymnasiums aren’t limited to just exercise and sporting events; these multi-purpose spaces often serve as venues for banquets, concerts, performances, and business conferences as well. Regardless of their specific purpose, all gymnasiums are constructed similarly; they are always composed of wood, painted concrete or cinder blocks, and metal roof decks—all of which are highly reflective surfaces.

    When you combine large gym spaces, reflective surfaces, and a lack of absorptive surfaces (e.g. carpet, furniture, drapery or ceiling tiles), this results in excessive echoes and reverberations. With little to no absorption in the room, sounds constantly bounce around until running out of energy.

    This noise problem is especially troublesome when gymnasiums are for conferences or instructional events; speech intelligibility in the room suffers greatly since people hear sounds that have been reflected several times. This delayed response causes a lot of confusion, as people have difficulty distinguishing one sounds from another.

    How Can I Resolve the Problem?

    To facilitate appropriate noise abatement, many gymnasiums are treated with hanging baffles or absorptive wall or ceiling panels. Baffles are ideal for this application, but it’s important to observe and take note of the fire suppression sprinklers; installing baffles in a location that’s inhibiting the coverage of the fire sprinklers is a huge safety concern.

    Acousitcal Surfaces, Inc. (ASI) has led the soundproofing industry for over 30 years. People frequently rely on our sound expertise to solve noise problems in various settings.

    In gymnasiums, our Echo Eliminator™ Acoustical Panels are a great resource for noise abatement for walls or ceilings. These panels are cost effective, lightweight, and easy to install. Our Echo Eliminator™ panels are sold in 2×4 panels and are available in 10 different colors in both 1” and 2” thickneses. In addition to possessing exceptional absorptive properties, these panels are also Class A fire rated to provide added security.  It is also important to know that these panels are generally in stock and because they do not need to be made/fabricated, we can generally ship an order in just a few days.

    ASI’s PVC Wrapped Acoustical Baffles are also a popular choice for gymnasiums (with high ceilings and no fire suppression systems). These high-performance baffles are composed of heat-sealed polyethylene (PVC) with a fiberglass fill, making them absorbent enough to cut down reverberations. Our baffles are available in sizes up to 4’x10’, as well as various colors to compliment the design of you gym.

    Learn more about noise abatement by contacting Acoustical Surfaces, Inc. today.


    Tell ASI about Your Noise Problem



  2. “Noise is the No. 1 Quality-of-Life Complaint in NYC” solutions from Acoustical Surfaces

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    An article came out earlier this year titled “Noise is No. 1 Quality-of-Life Complaint in NYC” by Verena Dobnik, and I wanted to contribute some basic solutions for noise reduction to mitigate some of the complaints listed in the article. (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/noise-no-1-quality-life-complaint-nyc)

    Large cities with large populations and lots of concrete are always going to be noisy, that’s just part of the game when it comes to living in the city.  If you don’t like noise, it’s probably not the right place for you.  But, even in a big city, people should be able to create quiet, comfortable spaces to unwind.  Fortunately there are quite a few different products that can be used to reduce the amount of sound coming into a building.


    RSIC-1 Clips
    RSIC-1 clips can be used for exterior walls to float the drywall off of the studs, allowing the sound pressure to be converted to heat by allowing the wall assembly to vibrate:


    Green Glue
    Green Glue and an additional layer of 5/8” drywall can be used to retro-fit an exterior wall to increase the STC rating of the assembly, and block more sound from making its way into the space:


    Acoustic Window Inserts in Historic Building
    Climate-Seal Window Inserts are a very effective, retro-fit way to reduce the amount of sound coming in a weak window.  These windows snap into place and are held onto a metal frame that is installed around a window:


    Noise Barrier/Sound Absorber Sound Blanket
    Exterior Grade Quilted Barrier-blankets can be used around noise sources outside such as: Generators, AC Units, etc.


    These are just a few different materials that can be used to reduce the amount of sound inside of buildings. Find all of our materials at our home page www.acousticalsurfaces.com

     

  3. Summer Sound Series: Screaming Toddlers, Noisy Gym

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    Noisy Daycare Gym

    The Situation

    I run a daycare facility that includes a small gym for games, running around, etc. The problem is the echo–it’s almost unbearable! The room has a vinyl tile floor, drywall walls and a metal roof deck for the ceiling. The room is 1500 sq/ft and has a 20′ ceiling. Is there anything I can do?

    The Solution:

    Being a father of two young and active boys, I am all too familiar with the fact that kids can be loud. Get a bunch of them together in a room having fun and it can give you a headache pretty quickly.  Especially if the room is made of hard surfaces, which is true for most gyms. The good news is that there are things that can be done.

    We have quite a few different types of acoustical panels and each has it’s own respective advantages and disadvantages. However, for a situation like this, I can pretty quickly narrow down the options to just one: the Echo Eliminator panels.

    Echo Eliminator Cotton Acoustical Panels

    These panels are about as cost-effective as it gets, they are in-stock, reasonable to ship, are class-A fire rated, available in nine different colors, easy to install and most importantly, extremely effective. They are, however, not as finished and aesthetically pleasing as some of our other options. But, 99.425% of the time gym or similar use rooms don’t need to be as aesthetically pleasing as an office or waiting area. The kids sure don’t care what the panels look like!

    Many of my other blog articles have included a very simple equation that I have used for quite a few different spaces like this with an extremely high success rate:

    Cubic Volume x 3% = square footage of panels to use

    Also, as I have said before, these panels can be installed essentially anywhere in the space and have, generally, the same overall reduction in the sound pressure in the room. I would suggest putting them high on the walls or mounting them directly onto the ceiling so they see less contact and abuse, but this is only for the longevity of the panels. They are most often applied to the walls or ceiling with two types of adhesives, but I have had people use everything from double-sided tape, to Velcro® or even 3M Command™ Strips.  One of the classrooms that I did decided to pound grommets (with a grommet installation kit from the hardware store) and hang the panels from small hooks.  The hooks were held up by one small finish nail, making for an easy patch job if the panels needed to be removed.

    Noisy Daycare GymIt’s interesting, but I’ve noticed that when a room has been treated with acoustical panels and is quieter, the children playing in the room don’t tend to get as loud as they do in an un-treated space.  When the background noise doesn’t exponentially increase with more voices, people don’t have to raise their voice to be heard by those around them. Further, when everyone in the room is speaking quieter, there is less energy to bounce off of the remaining hard surfaces. Instead of this ever-increasing upward spiral, the reverse is true.

    If you have any questions about this type of situation or if you are experiencing a problem like this, please feel free to contact me, I would be happy to help you determine how to approach the situation. If you can include the dimensions of the space a photo or two and your contact information (name, address, etc), it will be extremely helpful and make it easier to help you.

  4. Summer Sound Series: When The Kids Are Away… Fixing School Acoustics

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    Gymnasium – School Acoustics

    The Situation

    School is out for summer, and we want to take advantage of the time to work on the acoustics in our gymnasium, classrooms, and cafeteria. What would you recommend?

    The Solution

    You’re in good company! Teachers and administrators researching acoustical treatment for classrooms, cafeterias, common areas, etc. often contact us for help, and summer and winter breaks are usually the best times to make improvements. Large common areas like cafeterias and gyms have different acoustical needs than most classrooms due to their size, and they must be approached differently. However, there are some common factors and things to consider that can be applied across the board.

    In order to find the right acoustical solution for your particular situation, a bit of planning and preparation is required to learn the advantages and disadvantages of different acoustical products and methods of installation. Some of these products are custom made and will require a 1-4 week lead-time, so you’ll want to make sure to allocate enough time for that. It’s always good to request product samples so that you can see and feel the differences between products to make the best choice for your situation.

    Taking the Edge Off

    In the interest of simplicity, I’m going to discuss the basics of “taking the edge” off of a large space, such as a gym or cafeteria. The goal here is to reduce the reverberation time (echo) in the room so that it is simply easier and more comfortable to occupy.

    I developed the following equation about seven years ago and have been using it ever since, with positive feedback from hundreds of customers. The idea here is not to try to achieve perfection, but rather to give you an idea of how to approach a room that needs acoustical treatment without having to hire an acoustical consultant.

    Assuming your room has hard (usually tile) floors, drywall or cinderblock walls and either a sheetrock or metal deck ceiling:

    .04 × (cubic volume of space) = approximate number of square feet of panels to put into your room.

    This is probably a lot simpler than you thought it was going to be. Awesome.

    The next two questions are always: “Well, where do I need to put the panels?”, and “What type of panels are you talking about?”

    Where Do I Put The Panels?

    The first question is easy to answer. The nice thing about acoustics is that in most elevations, sound travels in the ballpark of 1,116.43701 feet per second, which means that the sound in a room travels too quickly for the exact location of the panels to make any audible difference on the overall echo reduction. In almost all instances where one is just looking to reduce the echo, there is not going to be any overall performance differences between a wall or a ceiling mounted panel. Most of the time, in a gymnasium, it is best to put the panels directly onto the ceiling or high on the walls so that they are not hit as often with volleyballs, basketballs, etc.

    What Type of Panels?

    Now, when it comes to what type of panels, there are three panel types that are probably the most common for schools to install:

    1. Echo Eliminator recycled cotton panels
    2. Fabric-wrapped-fiberglass panels
    3. PVC or Sailcloth hanging baffle

    Echo Eliminator

    Echo Eliminator Cotton Acoustical PanelsThe Echo Eliminator panels are going to be the most cost-effective option; they are generally in stock in 2′ × 4′ panels and are available in ten different colors. They are easy to ship and install, but are also generally found to be less aesthetically pleasing than the other two options.

    Fabric Wrapped Panels

    Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass Panels – Edge OptionsThe fabric wrapped fiberglass panels are very decorative and finished looking, can be made in any panel size needed up to a 4′ × 10′ board and come in hundreds of different colors and fabrics. We can also print custom graphics on the fabric before wrapping for a premium price. They are, however, heavier, and can be more difficult to install.

    PVC and Sailcloth Baffle

    PVC Acoustical BaffleThe PVC and Sailcloth baffles are hung from the ceiling like a flag. They are also custom made with plenty of choices for both baffle size and color – so school colors (or something similar) can be chosen. The downside to baffles is that they cannot usually be used in rooms that have fire-suppression sprinklers. When they are installed in the ceiling, they will commonly inhibit the throw and coverage of the sprinklers, which can violate the fire code for the building. Check with your local fire marshal before getting too far down the design path for a baffle installation.

    As always, I’m happy to do what I can to help you make the best choices for both the type of panel as well as quantity. Feel free to contact me with the dimensions of your room and a few digital pictures, which are great aids for me to help you. Also, please feel free to include your personal or school address so that I am able to send you a few different product samples for your review. Finally, some schools have rooms that need to meet specific ANSI standards, and for these you can contact me directly and we can discuss your particular room further.