Evaluating Acoustics and Vibration in Buildings

Upcoming dates (1)

Oct. 11-13, 2022

Madison, WI

Course Overview

Proper Acoustics

Whether it’s a recording studio, music and performing arts center, an experimental research laboratory, a commercial office environment, or a hospitality space, proper acoustics are critically important. Mechanical and electronic vibration from support equipment must be anticipated and mitigated to avoid unwanted disturbances in those spaces.

System noise and vibration can be a seen as a problem during commissioning or the operation of a facility, long after it can be effectively addressed. If you can detect these problems during the design phase, and incorporate the appropriate design and construction details, you’ll improve timeliness and financial efficiency, and ultimately the success of your project. 

Increase your understanding of noise criteria and noise control, octave band, measuring protocol, isolation methods, and offer solutions to both common problems, as well as the unique situations you may encounter. 

Instructors in the course include practicing designers and acousticians, and industry experts in vibration isolation. The classroom lectures and discussion will be supplemented by a tour of the new Hamel Music Center on the UW–Madison campus.  

Who Should Attend?

  • Facilities capital project managers
  • Architects and mechanical engineers
  • Acousticians and sound engineers
  • Facilities operations and field staff
  • Environmental health and safety professionals
  • Construction managers and sub-contractors

Course Outline

Day 1

Welcome and Introduction

Acoustics Fundamentals and Definitions

  • What is sound, noise and vibration?
  • How does sound and vibration travel?
  • Describe sound waves and propagation.
  • Range and depth of human hearing.
  • Frequency, amplitude and decibels.
  • Transmission, reflection and absorption.
  • Demonstration of vibration isolation.

Sound and Noise Reference Measures

  • The A-scale, A-weighting (dBA)
  • Octave and third-octave passbands
  • Noise criteria method (NC)
  • Room criteria and others (RC)
  • Quality Assessment Index (QAI)
  • Hearing protection and OSHA regulations
  • Local environmental noise ordinances

Architectural Sound Control - Room Acoustics

  • Source path receiver
  • Size, shape, materials
  • Size versus wavelength
  • NRC and limits
  • Reflection / absorption / diffusion
  • Small rooms
  • Large rooms

Acoustic Site-Specific Cases

  • Office environments
  • Retail and hospitality
  • Residential housing
  • Other occupancies
    • Schools
    • Hospitals
    • Worship facilities
  • Factories and industry
  • Outdoor considerations
  • Research and development labs
  • More music practice and performance

Day 2

Architectural Sound Control  - Acoustic Isolation

  • Transmission paths (airborne, structure-borne)
  • STC, CTC, OSTC and limit
  •  Open plan
  • Enclosed rooms
  • Transmission theory
  • Mass law
  • Double walls

Vibration Isolation of Mechanical Systems

  • Isolation efficiency
  • Specifications
  • Rubber in shear connections
  • Spring isolation and pipe hangers
  • Pipe risers and thermal expansion
  • Inertia blocks and concrete pads
  • Flexible pipe connectors
  • Rooftop AHU isolations
  • Floating floors
  • Building isolation

Seismic Restraint of MEP and Fire Protection

  • Specifications
  • Building codes
  • Connection types
  • Housekeeping pads
  • Pipe and duct braces
  • Floor-mounted equipment bracing
  • Suspended equipment bracing
  • Fire protection system bracing
  • Testing

UW–Madison Design Project

  • The Hamel Music Center
    • Acoustic principles used in the design
    • Overall introduction to the building
    • Recital hall
    • Concert hall
    • Rehearsal room
  • Tour of the Hamel Music Center

Day 3

HVAC Design Considerations

  • Why building acoustics?
  • Source-Path-Receiver model
  • HVAC equipment sound ratings
  • Airside noise control
    • Fans
    • Packaged air-handlers
  • Air path attenuation
    • Ductwork
    • Elbows and fittings
    • Silencers
  • In-duct turbulence generated noise
  • Duct breakout
  • Terminal units
  • Grilles, registers and diffusers (GRD)
  • Mechanical equipment room design
  • Outdoor noise control
    • Rooftops
    • Cooling towers
  • Special equipment vibration topics
    • Multiple direct-drive fans
    • Internal vs. external isolations
    • Inertial bases


"I wanted an acoustics and vibration 101 type course and got it. I feel I speak of the subject matter with more confidence and greater clarity...I got the overview I came for and plan to attend Libraries and Museums next year."
—Sean, Heery International, Andover, Massachusetts

"Quality of the presenters was excellent. You assembled a great group, thank you...best course I've attended. Feel very fortunate to have the chance to learn from these individuals."
—David, UW–Madison FP&M, Madison, Wisconsin

"Improved knowledge base and gained more refined knowledge as well, re: sound waves, room acoustics, air handling units...broad and specific enough coverage of how the topics are related/interdependent was presented and supported."
—Angela, Kinetics Noise Control, Dublin, Ohio

"I enjoyed how each speaker's presentation coincided with the other. Certain themes or rules of thumb carried over very well through each presentation. 'Alphabet soup; source path receiver, etc.'"
—Francois, The VMC Group, Bloomingdale, New Jersey


Curtis Eichelberger

Curtis Eichelberger, PE, is the Principal of Eichelberger Acoustics in Harrisburg PA, after working at the Johnson Controls Design Center where he was involved with the design and application of HVAC airside equipment. He has over 40 years experience in research, engineering and application of products relating to acoustic and vibration technologies. Before joining Johnson Controls, he was employed in a variety of positions with Emerson and Bruel & Kjaer instruments, where he was responsible for the application of acoustic and vibration measurement systems. Early in his career, he managed a noise control group with Gannet Fleming Consulting Engineers where he was responsible for over seventy projects relating to building noise and vibration control. Curt is a member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE), and ASHRAE where he is presently serving on the Research Administration Committee and is an instructor with the ASHRAE Learning Institute. Curt received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Acoustics from the Pennsylvania State University.

Richard Talaske

Rick Talaske, FASA, is the President and Principal Acoustics Consultant for TALASKE | SOUND THINKING in Oak Park, Illinois. During his 38+ years as a practicing acoustical consultant, he has worked nationally and internationally on the design or evaluation of hundreds of performance facilities. Rick is the acoustician of the new Mead Center on UW-Madison’s campus, that will be presented in the course and includes a concert hall, recital hall, and instrumental rehearsal room. Rick is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and a past Chair of ASA’s Technical Committee on Architectural Acoustics. He is a graduate of University of Michigan (B.S. in Engineering, 1976) and Pennsylvania State University (M.S. in Acoustics 1979).

James Tauby

James R. Tauby, P.E. is Chief Executive Engineer for Mason Industries in Hauppauge, NY, a worldwide leader in the field of noise and vibration control products as well as seismic and wind restraint systems. He regularly lectures around the world on topics ranging from vibration isolation and seismic and wind restraint of mechanical systems to the use of elastomeric expansion joints for piping in seismic applications. Jim has been a featured speaker at ASPE and ASHRAE National Conventions numerous times, is an ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, and has received the Distinguished Service Award from ASHRAE. He is a past chairman of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee TC-2.7, “Seismic and Wind Restraint Design,”and he is currently the chairman of ASHRAE standards committee SPC 171P, “Method of Test of Seismic Restraints for HVAC & R Equipment.” Jim is a registered professional engineer in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and in New Zealand, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama.

Upcoming dates (1)

Program Director

Mark Malkin

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