Author Archives: CS Editor

Unique noise control standards developed for mixed-use project

The LegoLand Discovery Center in Assembly Row was designed by Darlow Christ Architects. The development also includes residential, office, and retail space. Photos © Bruce T. Martin

The LegoLand Discovery Center in Assembly Row was designed by Darlow Christ Architects. The development also includes residential, office, and retail space. Photos © Bruce T. Martin

Acoustics consulting firm, Acentech, has developed noise control guidelines for Assembly Row, a new mixed-use development on 18.2 ha (45 acres) of waterfront space in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Located on a previously underdeveloped site on the Mystic River, Assembly Row’s master plan was conceived and coordinated by developer Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT), which retained the consulting form early in the project to address the complex issue of noise control as it related to the mix of uses within four blocks. The acoustic design addressed noise and acoustic issues in buildings and tenant spaces.

Assembly Row’s first phase, now accessible by transit for occupants, includes:
● 450 residential apartments;
● a 12-screen movie complex;
● LegoLand Discovery Center;
● restaurants;
● outlet retail stores;
● 9290-m2 (100,000-sf) of office space; and
● a 2.4-ha (6-acre) waterfront park.

Succinct and prescriptive noise-emission standards were developed and included in the design and technical manual governing tenant fit-outs. These standards included specific design criteria for noise emissions from rooftop or outdoor mechanical equipment, and noise transmission from ground-level retail to residences above. Similar standards were also applied to base building designs throughout the development. These standards were intended to ensure compliance with the municipal noise code, and to reasonably protect the various properties from each other’s noise emissions.

“Assembly Row is a new neighborhood designed to foster a 24/7 lifestyle,” said FRT’s Brian Spencer. “Less than 10 minutes from Boston, it is the first neighborhood of its kind in the country, offering outlet retail alongside entertainment and eateries, with apartments and office space above, fostering a true neighborhood feel.”

Consultants worked with architects and developers of specific buildings and tenant fit-outs to design acoustically favorable spaces and comply with the development’s noise emissions standards. The 12-screen movie complex, located above the LegoLand Discovery Center in Assembly Row’s Block 3, presented a unique design challenge.

Acentech worked to ensure each theater within the cinema complex would be protected from noise produced by activities at LegoLand, other building tenants, and mechanical equipment. The resulting design includes floating concrete slabs under every screening room, with certain walls and other features supported from the roof structure above. Through careful coordination with the architecture and building structure, these and other design features ensure the screening rooms are not disturbed by activities in surrounding spaces, and likewise, the cinema’s neighbors are not disturbed by movie noise.

Another challenge was protecting residential tenants in the upper floors of the development from the noise produced by rooftop mechanical equipment serving restaurant and retail facilities on the ground floor. Planning for judicious placement of visual/acoustical screening around rooftop equipment helped reduce noise impacts from HVAC systems on residents of adjacent buildings; even within buildings with both commercial and residential uses, careful location and vibration isolation of mechanical equipment has helped reduce noise impacts.

Clarification Regarding Anodizing

In the May 2014 issue of The Construction Specifier, Ben Mitchell, CSI, wrote a piece, “VOCs… and Beyond: Powder and Liquid Coatings Reviewed.” We recently received a letter from Roger Thomas and Rand A. Baldwin, respectively, the chair and president of the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC).

Mr. Mitchell did a decent job comparing powder and liquid coatings, but he gave an unfair and false impression of anodizing.

He writes, “aluminum hydroxide sludge and water must be properly disposed of to avoid contaminating the environment.” We agree with this statement—any sludge should be properly disposed. However, Mr. Mitchell uses a footnote to characterize aluminum hydroxide as a hazardous waste under CFR 40 Section 261.31, F019. This is incorrect. The table in the referenced regulation provides a list of hazardous wastes from non-specific sources. The description of F019 is “Wastewater treatment sludges from the chemical conversion coating of aluminum[.]”

For the adherence of paint, either applied as a wet or powder coating, a conversion coating must be applied to the aluminum. Sulfuric acid anodizing is not a conversion coating. In fact, such a coating would inhibit the anodizing process. Aluminum also is mentioned in the discussion of F019 as a specific exemption in aluminum can washing. Therefore, sulfuric acid anodizing is not a listed hazardous waste under the definition of F019.

Perhaps Mr. Mitchell confused F019 with F006, where “sulfuric acid anodizing of aluminum” is found in the text. F006 is defined as “Wastewater treatment sludges from electroplating operations except from the following process: (1) Sulfuric acid anodizing of aluminum…” Therefore, aluminum hydroxide sludge is not a listed F006 waste.

The only other way aluminum hydroxide sludge would be a hazardous waste is if analytical analysis demonstrated it failed one of the tests required by 40 CFR 261.20. To be in compliance with 40 CFR 262.11, which requires all waste streams to have a determination of whether the waste is hazardous, members of Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC) have had independent laboratories analyze aluminum hydroxide sludge. Aluminum hydroxide sludge is not ignitable, reactive, or corrosive as defined in 40 CFR 261.21 through 261.23. Additionally, aluminum hydroxide sludge does not fail any of the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure tests specified in 40 CFR 262.34. Therefore, aluminum hydroxide sludge is not a characteristically hazardous waste.

It should also be pointed out aluminum hydroxide sludge has beneficial uses. Members of AAC sell aluminum hydroxide to companies that recycle this non-hazardous byproduct of the sulfuric acid anodizing of aluminum process. Other members dispose of aluminum hydroxide sludge in landfills that cannot receive hazardous waste, where it is considered an excellent daily cover for other wastes.

We would appreciate your printing this correction to Mr. Mitchell’s comments.

Mr. Mitchell acknowledged the AAC members were correct, and apologized for his error.

Steel joist awards open for entrants

Last year, Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects took a Steel Joist Institute (SJI) for its design work on the Olivet Nazarene University New Student Life and Recreation Center in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient fitness complex houses the school’s athletic programs and includes a four-story rock climbing wall, multiple pools, an arena and fitness area. Photo courtesy Steel Joist Institute

Last year, Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects took a Steel Joist Institute (SJI) award for its design work on the Olivet Nazarene University New Student Life and Recreation Center in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient fitness complex houses the school’s athletic programs and includes a four-story rock climbing wall, multiple pools, an arena and fitness area. Photo courtesy Steel Joist Institute

The Steel Joist Institute (SJI) is accepting entries for its annual design awards, with the winning companies awarded a $2000 scholarship to their chosen school for engineering or architectural students.

The awards will be presented in three categories:
● industrial (i.e. manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and warehouses);
● non-industrial (i.e. office buildings, schools, and churches); and
● unique applications.

Nominations must be submitted by Friday, October 24, and projects must be located in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with steel joists (and/or associated girders) manufactured by an active SJI member. Eligible projects include new buildings and major retrofit or expansion projects constructed within the last three years.

Companies may submit more than one project, but each will be judged separately based on flexibility, speed of construction, value, and aesthetic considerations. Visit the SJI site for more information.

Low-vision design guidelines up for review

The Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) is seeking input on the newest draft of its guidelines for the visual built environment. Image courtesy Low Vision Design Committee

The Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) is seeking input on the newest draft of its guidelines for the visual built environment. Image courtesy Low Vision Design Committee

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) has released a new draft of Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment for public review until November 10.

The guidelines contain chapters on general design principles, site and landscape design, and architecture, interior, and lighting design. It addresses planning and design of a building and facility site, including:
● features used to access the building or facility, such as walkways, pathways, stairs, and ramps;
● interior finishes and fixed/moveable furnishings; and
● use of daylighting and electrical systems.

Developed by LVDC with support from the Hulda B. and Maurice Rothschild Foundation and the James H. McClung Lighting Research Foundation, the guidelines aim to help design professionals accommodate a growing segment of the population who live with the spectrum of vision disorders contributing to low vision.

All stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the document, which can be downloaded online and then marked up with Word’s “Track Changes” function and sent to program director Stephanie Stubbs.

 

Winners announced for ASHRAE student design competition

For American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) student design competition, a team from Montana State University took first in “Integrated Sustainable Building Design.” Image courtesy ASHRAE

For American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) student design competition, a team from Montana State University took first in “Integrated Sustainable Building Design.” Image courtesy ASHRAE

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) student design competition challenged participants to envision a two-story research and design development facility. Winners were named in three categories.

First place in “HVAC Design Calculations” went to a team from the University of Central Florida (Orlando) that created a high-efficiency mechanical system with long lifecycle, and excellent indoor air quality (IAQ), while maintaining cost effectiveness. It selected variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems with simultaneous heating and cooling and dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) with energy recovery. Other equipment included air valves for lab areas and high efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filters and exhaust fans to eliminate contamination.

Top spot in “HVAC System Selection” was awarded to a team from Kansas State University (Manhattan) that selected a ground source heat pump (GSHP) system where water is pumped through vertical piping in the ground, providing a heat source and heat sink for the heat pumps. The main water loop serves the heat pumps and DOAS allowing heat transfer between spaces to maximize energy efficiency. An unusual addition to the system was incorporation of a wall of vegetation created by attaching plants that do not require soil to a mesh grid. Given the building is used for research and design, the exhaust and ventilation rates are significant and consume large amounts of energy. Ten small bio-walls are used to decrease energy consumption for the entire building by decreasing the required ventilation in the office spaces.

First place in “Integrated Sustainable Building Design” was claimed by a team from Montana State University (Bozeman). For the HVAC systems, these students implemented multiple systems with high efficiencies, using the nearby river as a heat exchanger. The main system—a VRF—is more expensive upfront, but cost-effective and energy-saving throughout the life of the building. Fresh air was pre-conditioned by a heat recovery ventilation unit that exchanges energy with exhaust air leaving the building. This recovers energy while improving air quality. Fresh air is vented directly into the fan coil units in the VRF spaces, first mixing and then distributing throughout the rooms. Fresh air for the computer server and research and design spaces is ducted into the heat pumps and blown into the rooms directly. Acoustic and filtration specifications were addressed through appropriate noise dampening and filtration products.

The projects will be shared at the 2015 ASHRAE Winter Conference, held from January 24 to 28 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.