Good News… after long delays, LEED for Health Care was finally released for public consumption! This blog provides a basic overview of how to meet the new acoustical requirements in LEED HC. In fact, your next LEED for Healthcare project can gain two points just by following good acoustical design practices that protect patient medical records, increase patient satisfaction, and provide for a quieter workplace.

Spoiler Alert: The following information gets a bit technical. So if “engineer lingo” makes your head spin, give us a call for a free phone consultation. At Acoustics By Design, we have worked on dozens of LEED projects, and we can help guide you to practical next steps.

To begin, LEED for Healthcare relies heavily on acoustical experts to evaluate design changes that could be implemented in hospitals to enhance the facilities. As part of this committee, I helped create a document entitled “Sound and Vibration: Design Guidelines for Hospital & Healthcare Facilities” (S&V Document) with six sections: Site exterior noise, Acoustical finishes and details; Room noise levels; Sound isolation and speech privacy; Paging & call systems, clinical alarms, masking systems & sound reinforcement; and Building vibration.

LEED for Healthcare provides up to two points for following good acoustical design practices in the section on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Credit 2: Acoustic Environment. The stated intent is to “Provide building occupants with an indoor healing environment free of intrusive or disruptive levels of sound.”

Option 1 is worth 1 Point, and the facility must follow Part 3 (Room Noise) and Part 4 (Sound Isolation) of the S&V document. The intent of the Room Noise section is to consider background sound 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. The Sound Isolation section focuses on methods to achieve speech privacy, acoustic comfort and minimal annoyance from noise producing sources.

Option 2 is also worth 1 Point, but it only counts if you also follow Option 1. This section focuses on Part 1 (Site Exterior Noise) and Part 2 (Acoustical Finishes) from the S&V document. The intent of the section on Site Exterior Noise is to minimize the impact of site exterior noise on building facility occupants produced by all exterior noise sources—road traffic, aircraft flyovers, railroads, on-site heliports, emergency power generators during maintenance testing, outdoor facility MEP, and building services equipment. The Acoustical Finishes part discusses how to specify materials, product systems installation details, and other design features to help quiet healthcare spaces.

The sustainable design of future healthcare facilities means that the buildings will last longer because they function better. It just makes sense. When you need help designing your next healthcare facility, be sure to check in with Acoustics By Design. We’re leaders in the acoustical design of healthcare facilities. We have worked on award winning healthcare projects around the world, and we look forward to working with you.

ABD Engineering and Design

ABD Engineering and Design is one of North America’s leading independent acoustical consulting and AV design firms, serving clients across the United States and Canada, as well as other international markets from offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Portland, OR. Our specialized acoustical engineering and AV design practices help architects, building owners, engineers, facility directors, and municipalities design spaces, environments, and systems for optimal acoustical and audiovisual performance. Our consulting practice areas specialize in all aspects of architectural acoustics, environmental and industrial noise and vibration control, and audiovisual systems design.

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