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Roth Acoustical Associates
Industrial Noise Control | Office and Building Noise Control | Noise Control Feasibility Studies | Product Noise Level Testing and Control | Noise Control Training | Expert Witness Testimony | Community Noise Measurements and Control

Open-Office Acoustics
HVAC Design


Open office design has been popular for many years and is embraced by owners, interior designers and architects. But, these work environments offer challenges to a productive workforce. Noise created by conversation from the adjoining workstation, the whirring of nearby fax machines, the booming voice from across the office space, and general, ongoing office noise is distracting and annoying. Studies have shown that noise is the number one disturbance in an open office work environment.

An open office design should be a balanced approach to meet aesthetic and acoustical goals. The following general guidelines should be considered:
  • Install a highly absorptive acoustical ceiling.
  • Use a furniture system with proper height panels, sound absorption and appropriate sound blocking capabilities.
  • Minimize sound reflective areas.
  • Install a electronic sound masking system to increase background sound in the space.
  • Minimize effects of noisy equipment - locate in remote areas.
Along with the open office environment, work spaces must be designed with confidential areas, video conferencing rooms, mechanical equipment rooms, etc, all providing opportunities for effective partition design and appropriate room acoustics.

Are you considering an open office environment, or a conventional office layout? Could you use assistance in designing the space for a productive workforce. Do you have existing acoustical issues in your office space? Contact us at or call us at 800-908-8935 for some sound advice.

Click here to see Professional Profile of Stephen I Roth - Principal of Roth Acoustical Associates.

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Noises created by Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems are disturbances in theaters, offices, meeting rooms, classrooms and other public spaces. To make matters worse, manufacturers continue to cut corners to remain cost competitive, creating unacceptable noise levels. Here are just a few questions that you should be asking when determining whether noise has been given enough thought in HVAC design:
  • What noise levels are expected in the space? What NC Curve will it meet? Or better still, what NCB Curve or RC Curve will it meet?
  • Where will the Roof-Top Unit ( or Make-Up Air Unit, etc ) be located? Above a meeting room or the CEO's office? Will it and its ductwork be designed for low noise generation?
  • What are the noise ratings of the air diffusers?
  • Is the HVAC Equipment vibration mounted properly?
Have you given the correct thought to HVAC noise control provisions? Could you use some assistance? Do you have an existing problem? Contact us at or call us at 800-908-8935 for some sound advice.

Click here to see Professional Profile of Stephen I Roth - Principal of Roth Acoustical Associates.

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Roth Acoustical Associates
2352 Norton Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15241