CertainTeed Listening Lounge helps commercial building design

Monday, October 31, 2016

A new auralization experience from CertainTeed can help specifiers design a commercial building on an auditory level. The CertainTeed Listening Lounge, a virtual demonstration sound modeling tool located at the company’s headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, lets the professional hear how ceiling design, materials and product specifications can impact the acoustics of a space.

For architects and designers who must figure out how to provide acoustic comfort in the buildings they design, the Listening Lounge enables the participant to actually hear how a specific design will sound before it is even built.

“Acoustics play a huge part in creating a comfortable environment for all commercial buildings, whether that is for employees, patients or customers,” said Stan Gatland, manager of Building Sciences and Comfort, in a press release. “The Listening Lounge tests the human listening experience within a defined area before it is even built, allowing specifiers to better understand the material needed to provide an acoustically sound space. Eventually the participant can click on differing solutions and evaluate their actual perception of the difference each material makes.”

Developed by CertainTeed’s Building Science team along with architectural acoustics consultants at Acentech in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Listening Lounge was created by isolating a collaborative work space already present within CertainTeed’s headquarters. The Listening Lounge will serve as a testing ground for acoustic design as well as CertainTeed Ceilings products.

The wall is completely framed with high-performance acoustic wall panels that eliminate outside sounds and internal reverberation. The room features strategically-placed speakers for 360-degree sound. The room is also programmed to model unique situations that occupants might encounter in various areas of an open office environment. The lounge is also designed to ensure the origin of a sound is accurately represented.

In addition to the physical design of the Listening Lounge, the use of forward-thinking technology allows designers to preview the impact of interior finishes, audio systems, sound isolation and sound masking technology.

Room acoustics can be adjusted to demonstrate the impact of various noise reduction coefficient (NRC) and ceiling attenuation class (CAC) levels. These can be used in open office models, conference rooms, a large cafeteria or an auditorium, for example.

“According to Amplitude Research Inc., 65 per cent of workers are distracted by too much noise at work,” added Gatland. “For someone sitting at a work station within an open plan setting, general office conversations can create a noticeable distraction. People’s response to the simulated performance of different solutions experienced within the Listening Lounge will help CertainTeed’s teams develop new solutions that will benefit architects and occupants for decades to come.”

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