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Acoustic Analysis Using Energy Modeling – Building Design For Occupant Comfort

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Energy modeling allows designers to simulate a building’s energy performance during the early design and concept phase itself. It provides engineers with a display that is highly visual and interactive. As a result, engineers can analyze the results and device appropriate solutions; they can also communicate extensive databases and complex concepts in an intuitive and effective manner. The widely known array of a building performance factors that can be analyzed and validated via energy modeling includes – day light analysis, energy performance analysis, temperature distribution, Shadow analysis, studying reflections and visibility analysis, light pollution analysis etc. However one of the lesser known, but highly important and inseparable part of energy modeling for building performance includes – acoustic analysis of sound.

Acoustic Analysis

Why is Acoustic Analysis Important for Building Design?

Acoustic scene analysis deals with problems in a building such as echo, excessive noise, speech privacy and clarity etc, to name a few. Poor acoustical performance can cause occupant discomfort. Some examples of poor acoustical performance include: a) when a person speaks there is an echo, the speech gets muffled and is less audible b) A building faces the road, and there is too much noise of the vehicles infiltrating the occupant spaces in the building causing discomfort c) Conference or meeting place in an office building has poor acoustics, hence there is lack of privacy, as everything discussed in this room can be heard by occupants outside the room as well.

From the above mentioned example, we can understand that acoustics is a very important consideration in building design and construction projects. However, acoustic design often does not receive the same importance as other aspects of energy modeling and analysis.

Energy Modeling helps Improved Acoustics in a Building

Energy modeling provides building acoustic measurements. These measurements are invaluable, as they help examine noise generation and its propagation in a building. This further supports engineers to design better acoustics for a building.

At home, in office or during recreation, we have to constantly face the ever increasing noise pollution that is generated due to numerous factors such as televisions, kitchen appliances, vehicles, machines working in industrial buildings etc. Now every time noise control via reduction in noise generation is not possible, as a result building acoustics takes the center stage. It reduces disturbances and discomfort due to noise by helping architects design building that insulate and isolate the noise source thus promote higher occupant comfort.

Hi-Tech is a leading India based company, which provides energy modeling services and sustainable solutions for building design and construction. In addition to acoustic analysis and design for occupant comfort, the experts also extend energy modeling and design for energy consumption, ventilation, cooling, water usage, overheating risks etc and address the most challenging sustainability requirements for a building design.

Bhushan Avsatthi
About the Author: Bhushan Avsatthi is a BIM expert, a certified Sustainable Building advisor, and an associate director with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads a team of architects, Structural & MEP engineers, LEED consultants and energy modelers. Bhushan strives to make his organization a cohesive resource for sustainable building design. He regularly participates in green initiatives like tree plantations, and promotes using bicycles for everyday commute.