Infill Laboratory Development: Balancing Vibration,
Noise and Air Quality Issues during Construction and Operation
and John Alberico, Rowan Williams
Davies & Irwin Inc.
Erik Andersen, Robbie Young + Wright
Infill development requires careful consideration of the surrounding
uses in terms of both:
- Effects of the proposed development on the surroundings and
- Effects of the surroundings on the proposed development.
Given the proximity of other buildings and lab uses, vibration,
noise and air quality (exhaust reintrainment) issues can arise.
Often, there are divergent requirements such as quieting noise generated
by exhaust stacks versus higher stack velocities required to disperse
effluent in confined surroundings. Existing uses may also affect
proposed uses and vice versa especially when in proximity to each
other, a situation which is of less concern where buildings on campus
are well separated. Recent examples include destruction test facilities
affecting vibration-sensitive lab space.
Construction noise, vibration and dust are also issues which arise
in infill development. The design of labs should address master
plan considerations and where possible incorporate controls that
will provide the flexibility for new construction at a later date.
Effective solutions for infill projects require an interactive dialogue
between the architect, mechanical designer, users, the exhaust dispersion,
and noise and vibration consultants.
The poster will focus on the noise, vibration, and air quality
issues associated with laboratory building designs in infill developments.
Positive and negative aspects related to the design of these facilities
will be evaluated in terms of some case studies, with emphasis on
balancing the requirements and applying holistic design approaches.
The optimization of noise, air quality and vibration requirements
is often compounded for labs in infill developments. Construction
activity can generate significant dust, noise, and vibration that
can disrupt existing research and lab activity. In some cases, facilities
must be relocated temporarily to remain functional. Labs designed
with consideration of the campus master plan, future development
and construction can avoid disruption arising from construction.
Operationally, a holistic approach is needed when addressing noise,
vibration and air quality issues Architectural features and noise
control features (e.g., noise walls, parapets) have a direct effect
on the wind flow patterns created around a building rooftop, and
more specifically around any rooftop exhausts. Beneficial noise
screening may come at the cost of poor exhaust dispersion. Efforts
to increase dispersion through higher stack discharge velocities
can result in increased noise and environmental noise impacts at
nearby buildings or residential communities.
Selection of fans and variable volume systems incorporating variable
frequency drives must also consider the effects of low operating
speeds on vibration isolation, which can be compromised if fan speeds
are too low. Implementing energy saving measures in these variable
volume systems must ensure that the vibration sensitive uses remain
This presentation directly reflects the following aspects of the
- Minimize overall environmental impacts - Noise and exhaust dispersion
of contaminant sources are key considerations in the environmental
design of labs and are often the subject of specific regulations.
Improved exhaust dispersion and noise control from a laboratory
building will reduce the potential for localized impacts.
- Protect occupant safety - Optimizing the sometimes polar requirements
for noise and air exhaust systems will reduce exhaust re-entrainment
that will directly improve the indoor air quality of the laboratory
buildings, thus improving the comfort and protecting the safety
of the occupants. Comfort and performance of the lab occupants
is enhanced by ensuring noise levels are kept sufficiently low.
- Optimize whole building efficiency on a life-cycle basis - In
many cases, the solution for noise, vibration, and exhaust re-entrainment
impacts may have polar requirements. A holistic approach to the
design of lab buildings should address all of these factors to
optimize building performance. Consideration has to be given to
the master plan for the campus, especially in infill development
where the proximity of many buildings can result in heightened
impact during construction as well as built-out operation.
Darron Chin-Quee is an Acoustics/Vibration Specialist and
Project Director at Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc. (RWDI).
He has more than 15 years of experience related to noise, acoustics,
and vibration issues in land-use planning and the design of buildings
on higher education facilities, labs, and campuses.
While at RWDI, Mr. Chin-Quee has consulted on numerous projects,
many of which relate to labs, colleges and universities throughout
the United States and Canada. These projects included building design
and master planning for campuses. Examples of these include infill
developments for the University of Guelph New Sciences Complex,
Yale School of Medicine Congress Avenue Building, and the University
of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Palmer Drive redevelopment. The latter saw
the addition of three buildings which potentially could have been
affected by or have affected nearby buildings including the physical
central plant and campus residences with respect to noise, vibration,
and air quality issues.
John Alberico has a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in physical geography
from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Research
for his Master's thesis investigated sediment transport and deposition
of agricultural soils using a portable field wind tunnel.
John is an Air Quality Specialist and Project Manager in the environmental
modeling division at RWDI in Guelph. He manages a wide range of
studiesmany relating to laboratories and research facilitiesincluding
numerical and physical dispersion modelling, internal ventilation,
and research and development. He has been a team member for more
than 150 wind tunnel studies and more than 450 numerical modelling
studies involving the re-entrainment of a variety of stationary
and vehicular exhaust sources.
Erik Andersen, Robbie Young + Wright
Biography not available at this time.
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