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LEED v4.1

Schools – New Construction

Indoor Environmental Quality
Minimum Acoustic Performance

LEED CREDIT

Schools-NC-v4.1 EQp3: Minimum acoustic performance Required

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© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To provide classrooms that facilitate teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication through effective acoustic design.

Requirements

HVAC Background Noise
Achieve a maximum background noise level of 40 dBA from heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in classrooms and other core learning spaces. Follow the recommended methodologies and best practices for mechanical system noise control in ANSI Standard S12.60–2010, Part 1, Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements and Guidelines for Schools; or a local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.
Exterior Noise
For high-noise sites (peak-hour Leq above 60 dBA during school hours), implement acoustic treatment and other measures to minimize noise intrusion from exterior sources and control sound transmission between classrooms and other core learning spaces. Projects at least one-half mile (800 meters) from any significant noise source (e.g., aircraft overflights, highways, trains, industry) are exempt.
Reverberation Time
Design each of the classrooms and other core learning spaces to meet one of the following:
  • The total surface area of acoustic wall panels, ceiling finishes, and other sound-absorbent finishes equals or exceeds the total ceiling area of the room (excluding lights, diffusers, and grilles). Materials must have an NRC of 0.70 or higher to be included in the calculation.
  • The calculated or measured reverberation times comply with ANSI Standard S12.60-2010, Part 1.
  • For spaces ≥ 20,000 Cubic Feet (566 Cubic Meters), the calculated or measured reverberation times comply with Table 1: Table 1: Maximum reverberation time for large volume spaces
    Type of room Mid-frequency Reverberation time (s)
    Large lecture room (more than 50 people)
    Library
    Assembly hall, multi-purpose hall 0.8-1.2
    Indoor sports hall, swimming pooll 1.5-2.0
    Gymnasium/activity studio
    Dance studio
    *For details of the above reverberation time requirements, please refer to Building Bulletin 93 – Acoustic Design of Schools: Performance Standards published by the UK’s Department for Education in February 2015.
    Note: the reverberation time is quoted in terms of the mid-frequency reverberation time, Tmf, which is the arithmetic average of the reverberation times in 500hz, 1 kHz, and 2kHz octave bands, or the arithmetic average of the reverberation times in the one-third octave bands from 400 Hz to 2.5 kHz.
Exceptions
Exceptions to the requirements because of a limited scope of work or to observe historic preservation requirements will be considered. For spaces which involve complex sound calculations and/or special considerations, such as those for music rehearsal/performance, recording studio, drama studio, teaching space intended specifically for students with special hearing or communication needs, this Prerequisite shall not apply and engagement with an acoustician is critical to the acoustic design and performance of the space. See all forum discussions about this credit »

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Addenda

2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under HVAC Background Noise, delete "Annex A.1"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under Behind the Intent Beta Update, revise the second paragraph: delete the words "Annex A.1" and "evaluating", and add a new sentence at the end of the paragraph: Background noise levels can still be calculated or measured using the ASHRAE and AHRI references.

Under Step-by-Step Guidance, after the first sentence add the following: "Note that for step 4, it is still acceptable to verify background noise via calculations from the ASHRAE Handbook or AHRI standard, or measurements via ANSI Part 1 annex A1 or ASHRAE Handbook, or other equivalent method."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/9/2020Updated: 11/30/2020
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under HVAC background noise, add "Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements and Guidelines for Schools" after Annex A.1 and delete ";the 2015 ASHRAE Handbook-- HVAC Applications, Chapter 48, Noise and Vibration Control (with errata); AHRI Standard 885–2008".

Under Reverberation time,
1. delete the sentence "Adhere to the following reverberation time requirements."
2. delete the header "Classrooms and Core Learning Spaces
3. Replace Option 1, Option 2, and Option 3 headers and subsequent "OR" text after each option and replace with bullets.
4. Delete the first five words under Option 1 ("For each room, confirm that").
5. Revise the sentence under Option 2 so it reads "The calculated or measured reverberation times comply with ANSI Standard S12.60-2010, Part 1."
6. Delete Option 3 and replace with
"For spaces ≥ 20,000 Cubic Feet (566 Cubic Meters), the calculated or measured reverberation times comply with Table 1:
**Table 1**
*For details of the above reverberation time requirements, please refer to Building Bulletin 93 – Acoustic Design of Schools: Performance Standards published by the UK’s Department for Education in February 2015.
Note: the reverberation time is quoted in terms of the mid-frequency reverberation time, Tmf, which is the arithmetic average of the reverberation times in 500hz, 1 kHz, and 2kHz octave bands, or the arithmetic average of the reverberation times in the one-third octave bands from 400 Hz to 2.5 kHz.

7. Under Exceptions, add the following sentence at the end: "For spaces which involve complex sound calculations and/or special considerations, such as those for music rehearsal/performance, recording studio, drama studio, teaching space intended specifically for students with special hearing or communication needs, this Prerequisite shall not apply and engagement with an acoustician is critical to the acoustic design and performance of the space."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/9/2020Updated: 11/30/2020
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under Guidance, delete: "There are no substantive changes to the prerequisite requirements; refer to the LEED v4 reference guide, with the following additions:"

and add
"Refer to the LEED v4 reference guide, with the following additions and modifications:
Behind the Intent
Beta Update
The reverberation time requirements for large-volume spaces have been updated to replace the standard: NRC-CNRC Construction Technology Update No. 51 with a table developed by USGBC based on UK Department for Education performance standard Building Bulletin 93.


The ASHRAE and AHRI references for HVAC background noise have been removed to emphasize ANSI Standard S12.60-2010, Part 1, Annex A.1 as the primary source for evaluating background noise in classrooms and other core learning spaces.
Exceptions for certain spaces are included to clarify the scope (and limitations) of this prerequisite.

Step-by-Step Guidance

Steps 1-9. Refer to the LEED v4 reference guide
Step 9. Select reverberation time compliance option for each classroom and core learning space
In addition to the language in this step in the LEED v4 reference guide, add:
Option 3. Maximum reverberation time for large volume spaces
Confirm that the reverberation time for the space complies with Table 1 in the rating system using calculations or measurements. Retain calculations or measurement logs for credit documentation.
Step 10. Remove this step (covered above in step 9, option 3)."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
See all forum discussions about this credit »

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USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To provide classrooms that facilitate teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication through effective acoustic design.

Requirements

HVAC Background Noise
Achieve a maximum background noise level of 40 dBA from heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in classrooms and other core learning spaces. Follow the recommended methodologies and best practices for mechanical system noise control in ANSI Standard S12.60–2010, Part 1, Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements and Guidelines for Schools; or a local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.
Exterior Noise
For high-noise sites (peak-hour Leq above 60 dBA during school hours), implement acoustic treatment and other measures to minimize noise intrusion from exterior sources and control sound transmission between classrooms and other core learning spaces. Projects at least one-half mile (800 meters) from any significant noise source (e.g., aircraft overflights, highways, trains, industry) are exempt.
Reverberation Time
Design each of the classrooms and other core learning spaces to meet one of the following:
  • The total surface area of acoustic wall panels, ceiling finishes, and other sound-absorbent finishes equals or exceeds the total ceiling area of the room (excluding lights, diffusers, and grilles). Materials must have an NRC of 0.70 or higher to be included in the calculation.
  • The calculated or measured reverberation times comply with ANSI Standard S12.60-2010, Part 1.
  • For spaces ≥ 20,000 Cubic Feet (566 Cubic Meters), the calculated or measured reverberation times comply with Table 1: Table 1: Maximum reverberation time for large volume spaces
    Type of room Mid-frequency Reverberation time (s)
    Large lecture room (more than 50 people)
    Library
    Assembly hall, multi-purpose hall 0.8-1.2
    Indoor sports hall, swimming pooll 1.5-2.0
    Gymnasium/activity studio
    Dance studio
    *For details of the above reverberation time requirements, please refer to Building Bulletin 93 – Acoustic Design of Schools: Performance Standards published by the UK’s Department for Education in February 2015.
    Note: the reverberation time is quoted in terms of the mid-frequency reverberation time, Tmf, which is the arithmetic average of the reverberation times in 500hz, 1 kHz, and 2kHz octave bands, or the arithmetic average of the reverberation times in the one-third octave bands from 400 Hz to 2.5 kHz.
Exceptions
Exceptions to the requirements because of a limited scope of work or to observe historic preservation requirements will be considered. For spaces which involve complex sound calculations and/or special considerations, such as those for music rehearsal/performance, recording studio, drama studio, teaching space intended specifically for students with special hearing or communication needs, this Prerequisite shall not apply and engagement with an acoustician is critical to the acoustic design and performance of the space.
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