Acoustics and LEED / Sustainable Building

As many of you know, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. It emphasizes state of the art strategies for five broad categories: sustainable site planning; safeguarding water and water efficiency; energy efficiency and renewable energy; conservation of materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality.

The last category, indoor environmental quality, is where Thorburn Associates comes into the picture. As an experienced design and engineering firm with several LEED projects completed, we can help the design team develop acoustic and audiovisual designs and choose products and materials to support sustainable design and LEED certification. Some of our recently completed projects include the following:
Hewlett Foundation Headquarters, Menlo Park, CA Architect: Hawley Peterson & Snyder Architects

Located in Menlo Park, CA, is the new 48,000 sf headquarters for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The success of the sustainable strategies used in the overall project earned it the first LEED v2.0 Gold rating in California and the fifth in the nation.

Thorburn Associates provided both acoustical and audiovisual consulting. Key components include six strategically placed conference rooms, each with videoconference capabilities; two meeting rooms for large presentations and community-wide meetings combinable into one larger room; and a centrally located boardroom. Open office areas, entry courtyard, and the exterior breakout patio all contribute to the open, interactive design, but makes the under floor air distribution system and the wall, floor, and ceiling acoustical treatments that much more important.

SUGEN Building #3, South San Francisco, CA Architect: DES Architects + Engineers

Located in South San Francisco, CA, this Biotech Laboratory Facility includes laboratory and support areas, and all building systems in 67,674 sq. ft. The design team incorporated materials into the interior design that include wall insulation made from recycled natural fibers, particleboard substrates made from straw, and renewable materials such as linoleum flooring.

As part of its LEED Gold certification, the design team incorporated 3 additional elements as new ways of incorporating environmental consciousness into building design: First, this building incorporates a LEEDCI display to promote education about sustainable building practices. Second, although the standard LEED credit does not include lab casework, this building has lab casework made from 100% FSC certified wood. As a third measure the building also has an HVAC system with an estimated energy savings of 46% above code requirements! The energy efficiency helps to reduce the self-generated noise of the system.

Thorburn Associates provided acoustical consulting for sound isolation and mechanical noise/vibration control as well as the design of audiovisual systems for the cafetorium, boardroom, and conference rooms. Key components include portable camera, speech reinforcement for the presenter, videotape playback, video conferencing, and computer graphics displays.