Noise pollution and classroom acoustics
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Noise Pollution and Classroom Acoustics. Marc Hodapp Rory Moulton Kari Ricker. Goals. Original goal Determine noise levels in local classrooms Final goals Improve local classroom acoustics Develop noise reducing materials using recyclable resources. Objectives. Objectives

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Noise Pollution and Classroom Acoustics

Marc Hodapp

Rory Moulton

Kari Ricker


Goals

  • Original goal

    • Determine noise levels in local classrooms

  • Final goals

    • Improve local classroom acoustics

    • Develop noise reducing materials using recyclable resources


Objectives

  • Objectives

    • Determine existing local classroom acoustical conditions

    • Make recommendations to improve local classrooms

    • Develop innovative acoustical treatments from recycled material that would also apply to other similar buildings


Negative Effects of Poor Classroom Acoustics

  • 25% to 30% of teacher’s verbal communication is not heard

  • Lowered reading comprehension scores

  • Achievement scores below grade levels


Reading Comprehension UK, Spain, & Netherlands, 2003

100

Reading Comprehension Scores

0

Aircraft Noise, dB(A)

Modified from http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/163/1/27

n = 2000 students


Standardized Grade Equivalent TestLos Angeles, CA, 2001

Modified From http://www.quietclassrooms.org/library/ICA2001.htm

n = 1406 students


Population Distribution


Methodology Part One:Researching

  • Archival research

    • Researched effects of excessive noise

    • Researched current acoustical solutions

    • Investigated recycled materials on island

  • Interviews

    • Acoustical Engineer

    • Waste Management Specialist

    • Industrial Engineer

    • Mechanical Engineer


Methodology Part Two:Selecting Classrooms

  • Obtained permission from the Puerto Rico Department of Education

  • Visited four local junior high schools

    • Located two classrooms in each school

      • One classroom in noisiest section of school

      • One classroom in quietest section of school


Methodology Part Three:Noise Measurements

  • Following ANSI standards

    • Used A-weighted time averaging sound level meter

      • A-weighted: Noise as perceived by humans

    • Recorded six separate readings of noise levels

      • Every three seconds for thirty seconds

      • Noted background noises during noise level spikes


Methodology Part Three:Noise Measurements

  • In all visited schools

    • Recorded two unoccupied classrooms

      • One reading with unoccupied adjacent rooms

      • One reading with occupied adjacent rooms

  • In one visited school

    • Measured an additional room

      • With air conditioner on

      • With air conditioner off


Methodology Part Four:Classroom Profiling

  • Outdoors

    • Photographed school grounds

    • Measured distances to noise sources

  • Indoors

    • Calculated reverberation time

      • Measured classroom dimensions

      • Noted classroom objects’ material

    • Distributed teacher surveys


Understanding the Results

  • Noise

    • Originates from inside or outside

    • Travels as a sound wave

    • Measured in decibels (dB)

    • Classroom levels should be less than 35 dB on average


Understanding the Results

  • Reverberation time (echo)

    • Can be estimated

      • Assuming Sabine room

      • Using absorption coefficients

    • Can be measured

      • Using a sound level meter

    • Units are in seconds

    • Classroom time should be less than .6 seconds


Reverberation Example

www.reverberationtime.com


Rafael Martinez Nadal (RMN)

  • Located in Guaynabo

  • Surrounding the school:

    • Bus station

    • High traffic road (most noise)

    • Farm

    • Courtyard


Dr. Cesareo Rosa Nieves (CRN)

  • Located in the San Juan area

  • Surrounding the school:

    • Construction site on two sides (most noise)

    • Elementary school

    • Housing


Sabana Llana (SL)

  • Located in the San Juan area

  • Surrounding the school:

    • High traffic street (most noise)

    • Courtyard with a basketball

      court (most noise)

    • Housing

    • Parking lot


Republica Del Peru (RDP)

  • Located in the San Juan area

  • Surrounding the school:

    • High traffic road (most noise)

    • Housing on two sides

    • Basketball court

      and playing fields


Results


ResultsRafael Martinez Nadal Room 1 Adjacent Room Occupied


ResultsRafael Martinez Nadal Classroom Comparison Chart


Results


Results


Results


Teacher Results


Teacher Results

  • 98 percent reported that there was outdoor noise during class hours

  • 89 percent reported that they have to speak over the outdoor noises

  • 76 percent recorded that they hear noise from other classrooms

  • 73 percent recorded that they have to speak over interior noises


Teacher Results


Conclusions: Classroom Acoustics

  • Sound levels exceed ANSI, 2005 recommendations

  • Reverberation times exceed ANSI, 2005 recommendations

  • People cause the most frequent increases in noise levels

  • Noise levels vary within schools

  • Teachers in all schools agree that noise levels are high


ResultsSound Absorbing Material

  • Polyester as a sound absorber

http://kr.gobizkorea.com/att/english/offer/PSF-HC1.jpg


ResultsSound Absorbing Material


ResultsSound Absorbing Material


ResultsSound Absorbing Material


Conclusions: Acoustical Tiles

  • Inexpensive fibers

  • Low initial investment

  • Pioneering production

  • Potential for profit

  • Potentially large market


Recommendations for The Department of Education

  • Phase Number One: Understanding Noise

    • Purchase low-cost sound level meters

    • Initiate an island wide sound study

    • Collect data in a standardized manner

    • Identify the schools and areas with the most noise problems


Recommendations for The Department of Education

  • Phase Number Two: Developing Standards

    • Consult an Acoustical Engineer

    • Develop and adopt acoustical standards

      • Follow ANSI

      • Develop standards for Puerto Rico


Recommendations for The Department of Education

  • Phase Number Three: Beginning the Process of Change

    • Urge schools to consider our low-cost solutions

    • Consider allocating funds to acoustically treat classrooms

    • Work with the Environmental Quality Board to reduce noise outside of schools


Recommendations for All Puerto Rican Public Schools

  • Step Number One: Know Your Noise

    • Take sound level measurements

      • Interactive learning experience

      • Involve students and teachers

    • Locate the loudest and quietest sections

    • Identify the major sources of noise


Recommendations for All Puerto Rican Public Schools

  • Step Number Two: Involving Students

    • Educate students about noise

    • Demonstrate different sound levels in class

    • Inform students when their voices are loud


Recommendations for All Puerto Rican Public Schools

  • Step Number Three: Designate Quiet Zones

    • Determine which areas are quiet zones

      • Hallways

      • Classrooms

      • Libraries

    • Designate one or two break rooms

      • Located in loudest section

    • Designate a gathering area outdoors

      • Located as far away from classes as possible


Recommendations for All Puerto Rican Public Schools

  • Step Number Four: Sound Solutions

    • Low Cost

      • Open windows

      • Close doors

      • Limit use of mechanical devices

    • Commercial Solutions

      • Install acoustical tiles

      • Seal windows

      • Install central air conditioning


Summary of Recommendations

  • Locate noise sources

  • Rearrange classrooms

  • Educate students about noise

  • Seperate break areas from classes

  • Open windows to reduce reverberation

  • Limit the use of mechanical devices


Thank you

  • Department of Education

  • University of Puerto Rico

  • Selected schools

  • Interviewees

  • ADS

  • PRIDCO

  • REMA


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