Affordable solutions available for better school acoustics

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Experts believe as many as one-third of all school students miss up to 33 percent of the oral communication that occurs in the classroom. (M. Nixon’s 2002 article, “Acoustical Standards Begin to Reverberate: Controlling Noise within School Facilities,” was posted on the web at School Construction News Online).

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A faster, simpler way to a Level 5 finish

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Drywall is often misperceived as a building material that does not demand the skillful manipulation of a traditional construction material. However, anyone who has worked with drywall knows the product is not so cooperative.

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Ensuring effective custom HVAC assemblies

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As many designers can attest, selecting the most appropriate HVAC system involves more than an off-the-shelf purchase. Designing a mechanical system for maximum energy efficiency, reliability, serviceability, and sustainability—while meeting the varying usage needs of the customer—requires broad expertise and a thorough understanding of key considerations in system design.

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Water-loop heat pumps and net-zero

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Designing net-zero-energy buildings for new construction or renovation presents many challenges. It requires analyzing the unique energy use of the entire facility and then designing a system that can reduce the net-energy footprint without sacrificing functionality or comfort. As energy consumption is reduced, onsite renewable energy plays a larger role in efforts to reach the goal of net-zero energy. Water-source heat pumps (WSHPs) can be important in this respect.

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Controlling mechanical system noise

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A typical urban and suburban environment has numerous sources contributing to the exterior ambient noise. Among these are the environmental sounds from a building’s heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment. How can design professionals help mitigate the distraction caused by HVAC?

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