December 2011: Going Green


Welcome to our monthly newsletter for December. This month, we will be discussing green building technology as it relates to acoustics. Let us help you with your LEED projects and Go Green with us!

It’s been an exciting year for us as we worked on some very interesting projects and have grown in staff. As this year draws to a close, we want to wish you Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!

The Lucy School – LEED Platinum

Image by Michael Summers,MSB Architects

The Lucy School provides preschool and primary level education and is situated on a 17-acre farm in Middletown, Maryland. A new building houses the primary education programs at the school. The US Green Building Council has certified this building as a LEED for Schools Platinum building, the first such designation for a school in the State of Maryland. LEED for Schools takes into account air quality, daylighting, occupant health, and acoustics. Metropolitan Acoustics provided the consulting work to achieve the LEED prerequisites and additional credits for acoustics. If you are not aware, LEED for Schools requires prerequisites for certain aspects of acoustical design including reverberation time and background sound levels as well as credits for going above and beyond the prerequisites including partition design. This is to ensure the students have an acoustical environment that enhances learning.

In order to achieve the Platinum certification, the school met high performance standards in a broad range of areas. A solar array generates more than 40% of electricity for the building with the balance being wind-generated. Captured rainwater is used for dual-flush toilets. Temperature and CO2 sensors maintain optimal conditions in classrooms. About 84% of the wood used in the construction of the building was reused, recycled, or FSC-certified. Rapidly renewable materials, such as cork, bamboo and wheat board, have been used throughout, and recycled material (newspaper, denim and cotton) were used for thermal and acoustical insulation. All concrete contains about 50% recycled waste products. More than 86% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill through recycling and reuse. The architect for the project was MSB Architects (formerly HarneBowen) and the LEED Consultant was Re:Vision Architecture.

Pembroke North Condominiums – LEED NC

Image by Matt Wargo,VSBA Architects

Pembroke North luxury condominiums are located in Wayne, Pennsylvania along the Main Line and have earned LEED certification. Besides designing wall and floor/ceiling assemblies to control sound transmission between the units and noise and vibration control of the mechanical systems, Metropolitan Acoustics’ biggest challenge resided approximately 50-ft. from the back of the building. At this location, there are train tracks for both SEPTA Regional Rail and AMTRAK trains. To mitigate sound from train passbys, we measured sound levels at the site, modeled the exterior shell of the building with various materials, and designed recommendations to meet an appropriate sound level inside the units, which included quad-hung windows. To determine an interior sound level design goal, we simulated train noise through a speaker in our office. Post-construction measurements at the site during train passbys determined that the windows worked and our design goals were met.

Pembroke North is the first multi-family residential building to be registered for LEED certification in the Philadelphia area. VSBA Architects designed the buildings and Re:Vision Architecture was the LEED consultant on the project. The buildings are heated and cooled through geothermal technology. A green roof helps to reduce the heat island effect while easing the load on the building’s mechanical systems. Other factors such as tankless water heaters, dual flush toilets, and sub-surface stone beds that allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground on-site rather than discharging into the town sewer system make this residential project a pleasure to live in.

Other LEED Projects we participated on:

  • Curtis Institute of Music Lenfest Hall – Philadelphia, PA
  • Upper Dublin High School – Ft. Washington, PA
  • West Philadelphia High School – Philadelphia, PA
  • Kensington CAPA High School – Philadelphia, PA
  • Germantown Friends School Science Building – Philadelphia, PA
  • Willard Elementary School – Philadelphia, PA
  • Fulton Elementary School – Lancaster, PA
  • University of North Carolina Center City Building – Charlotte, NC
  • Friends Center – Philadelphia, PA
  • Lingle Avenue Elementary School – Palmyra, PA
  • Willow Lane Elementary School – Emmaus, PA
  • Bridesburg Elementary School – Philadelphia, PA
  • Martin Elementary School – Lancaster, PA
  • Cheltenham Elementary School – Elkins Park, PA
January 2012: Architecturally Integrated AV Systems