Author(s): Dovjak Mateja, Šubic Nika, Prislan Rok, Repše Ana, Kunič Roman
Problem: Room acoustics as part of overall protection against noise in buildings, presents an important step towards productive, comfortable and healthy living and working environment. Unfortunately, a significant part of our society is spending most of the time in acoustically unsatisfying surroundings. Studies concluded that long reverberation times might have negative effects on productivity, communication and learning abilities, health and overall well-being. Especially problematic are educational facilities with a high degree of indoor noise.\nThe main objective of the study was to define holistic solutions for acoustic comfort in day-care centres, through acoustical adaptation. Beforehand a series of workshops in various day-care centres in Slovenia had been conducted to educate the staff and children about the effects of noise exposure.\nMethods: A case study was performed in a playroom of a day-care centre, with inappropriate room acoustics as evaluated by staff. According to the objectives of the study, we performed six steps: 1. personal communication including a survey with the users before acoustical adaptation, problem definition; 2. review of specific requirements and recommendations; 3. acoustic calculations and laboratory measurements of different materials’ absorption coefficient; 4. construction of prototypical acoustic elements; 5. acoustical adaptation and in-situ measurements of reverberation time; 6. communication with the users after acoustical adaptation, assessment of user satisfaction.\nResults: Final prototypical absorbers were designed according to the performed steps. They were effective from acoustic, sanitary-technical and hygienic conditions that apply to the specific environment. The subjective response of the users after the adaptation was extremely positive.\nConclusion: The prototypical elements are acoustically efficient, easily accessible, inexpensive and simply adaptable to the specifics of the environment. Staff expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the end result as it is tailored to their specific surroundings and in combination with other noise prevention measures produces a comfortable working environment.
Name: Ms Nika Šubic