Use the following questions as a guide to ensure that you have all of the information you need to move forward with your project.
What Are the Functional Requirements of the Equipment I Need?
This information can usually be obtained from the end user, with input from personnel who may be required to maintain the equipment. For larger equipment or for equipment that is part of larger systems, the project manager will be your best resource.
Minimum Operating Requirements
- How fast does the equipment really have to be? Equipment that operates more quickly is generally noisier. Match the speed of the equipment to the ideal speed of the process. For instance, a 55 ppm laser printer is louder in operation than a 25 ppm laser printer; is 55 ppm really necessary?
- How powerful does the equipment really have to be? Equipment that consumes more power is typically noisier. Match the power of the equipment to the required power of the process.
- Does the equipment perform its function using the quietest method possible while still accomplishing the task? For instance, a piece of sheet metal can be bent slowly with pliers or quickly with a hammer.
- Is the equipment energy efficient? Equipment that inefficiently consumes power is typically noisier. Favor higher efficiency equipment.
- How often does the equipment have to operate? Minimize unnecessary uptime. Favor equipment that shuts off or enters a low-noise state when not in use.
- Does the equipment react to varying load conditions? Favor equipment that can adapt its operation to changing requirements. For instance, an air handler with a variable speed blower will be quieter more of the time than one operating at a fixed speed.
- What kind of access to the unit do personnel need? Units that require little interaction with personnel may be good candidates for remote location or enclosures.
What Environmental Factors Will Influence Noise Exposure?
In addition to choosing equipment that makes as little noise as possible, what measures can be taken in the work environment to minimize disruption or risk to personnel? Sometimes, even quiet equipment isn’t quiet enough to prevent disruption or damage, so planning for the equipment’s location and long-term maintenance can further ensure an optimally quiet environment.
This information can usually be provided by the end user or, in larger projects, by the architect or project manager in consultation with the Buy-Quiet Program Manager or an industrial hygienist, as appropriate.
- Can the number of personnel nearby be limited?
- Can the distance of personnel from the equipment be increased?
- Can equipment be sited more remotely?
- Can more sound absorption be added to the host space?
- Do adjacent spaces serve functions that fall within an adjacent class (industrial, laboratory, office, classroom)?
- Does the installation present the option of a control room for personnel? What about a “telephone booth” (a small personnel enclosure for temporary respite from the noise that would allow communication or use of phone/radio without hearing protection)?
- Are there penetrations between the noisy area and other areas? Can these be limited to minimize disturbances in adjacent areas?
- Are there penetrations to the exterior, such as windows and louvers? Can these be limited to minimize disturbances in adjacent areas or nearby communities?
- Has room been allowed for pipe lagging, mufflers, and enclosures on outdoor equipment?