Smart and Effective Acoustic Designs for Laboratory Buildings

Douglas Sturz, Acentech
Rose Mary Su, Acentech

Science research laboratory buildings often contain noise and vibration sensitive equipment that may be impacted by common vibration and noise sources inside and outside of the building. This presentation discusses the importance of space planning with noise and vibration control in mind from the beginning. Cost effective methods of noise and vibration control are discussed, as well as general HVAC planning in a laboratory building. Noise and vibration control of special spaces such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and vivarium are also discussed. Effective methods of mitigating construction noise and vibration in a phased lab project will also be discussed. Case studies will be presented as part of the discussion, including both new and retrofit buildings.

Learning Objectives

  • Early lab space considerations and planning for noise and vibration sensitive instruments.
  • Evaluate existing building conditions for retrofit laboratory projects to optimize noise and vibration control without significant upgrades.
  • Designing for a quiet lab HVAC system without the need to provide excessive noise control measures.
  • Control of footfall induced vibration without adding a significant amount of structure to the building system.


Douglas Sturz began his career at acoustics pioneering firm Bolt Beranek and Newman before joining Acentech in the firm's early days. He has been principally involved with the design of more than a hundred science/laboratory facilities, the majority of which include noise and/or vibration sensitive equipment. He also consults on projects where community noise due to mechanical systems is a concern and works to reduce noise in order to meet community standards.

Rose Mary Su is Acentech's Laboratory vertical market leader and a senior consultant in acoustics working on various projects involving institutional and commercial facilities. Her areas of concentration include architectural acoustics, mechanical systems noise and vibration control, and environmental acoustics. She has worked on dozens of laboratory projects with Principal Consultant Douglas Sturz.


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