Feature Article

The Sound of Sustainability: Acoustics in High-Performance Design

Acoustic performance is often overlooked by human-centered design. A holistic approach shows how to navigate the complexities of “sustainable acoustics.”

September 6, 2017

The world is filled with sound. And while our experience of a space is always influenced by its acoustics, we are especially affected by the acoustic quality of the buildings where we spend 90% of our time. These buildings all too often have poor acoustics, which can disrupt our work, activities, and health.

“It can get pretty noisy. You pretty much just have to deal with it,” says Jacqueline Shaw, associate at SPAN Architecture. An architect who works in an open office, she says she has learned to save tasks requiring particularly close concentration for the times of day when she knows the office will be relatively calm and quiet. “You just have to learn to adapt to your environment, unfortunately,” she says.