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Acentech Incorporated Telephone: 617-499-8000

33 Moulton Street Facsimile: 617-499-8074

Cambridge, MA 02138 E-mail: postbox@acentech.com
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60th ANNIVERSARY | 1948 - 2008

April 20, 2009

Stephen Decatur
Baker Design Group
23 Drydock Avenue, 6th floor
Boston, MA 02210

Subject: Mechanical Systems Noise Control

Harvard Center Shanghai
Shanghai, China
Acentech Project No. 620360

Dear Stephen:
We have reviewed the mechanical systems documents for the Harvard Center fit-out and have
the following comments.

Based on previous discussions with you and Harvard staff, we established the following noise
Space NC level
Classroom NC-25 to NC-30
Flexible Space NC-30 to NC-35
Offices, Conference Rooms NC-40


There are two air handling units located on the Harvard Center’s floor; for the sake of this
discussion, we will refer to the air handling unit located to the south, closer to the 90-person
classroom, as “AHU-1” and to the equipment located to the north, closer to the flexible space, as
“AHU-2”. At this time, we do not have sound data to use for our analysis; we have estimated
sound levels for these AHUs based on the fan types and capacities. These sound levels may be a
little higher than a manufacturer’s estimation. If sound level data becomes available, we could
review our analyses to determine whether a reduction of the noise control measures is possible.

Supply Path
A large supply duct is routed from each unit into the occupied spaces; to the east, AHU-2’s
supply duct penetrates through the mechanical room wall and into the ceiling plenum of a
conference room; to the west, AHU-1’s ductwork passes over an office and AV Control Room.

Architectural Acoustics Audiovisual and Sound System Design IT Infrastructure Noise and Vibration Control Environmental and Industrial Acoustics
Stephen Decatur
April 20, 2009
Page 2

We estimate that the ductwork will radiate a sound level of NC-60 to the spaces below. To
address the noise break-out from this duct into the occupied spaces, a gypsum board
construction between the occupied space and this ductwork is needed. This could consist of
either a duct enclosure or a GWB ceiling for these rooms. The ceiling should not be open to the
adjacent spaces to prevent the noise from radiating into those areas; instead the perimeter walls
to the adjacent rooms should extend to the underside of the structure. The ceiling should consist
of 2 layers of gypsum board built on metal studs, making sure that it is not in contact with the
ductwork. If planning for an enclosure, the enclosure construction should be similar to the
attached detail.
Taking into account 3-ft. long sound attenuators (which appear to be mounted in the supply duct
at the wall penetration), we calculated that the noise levels transmitting through the duct to the
closest offices/conference rooms are about NC-50, with loud tones at low frequencies. With the
estimated sound levels for the air handling units, the resulting noise level in the occupied spaces
is excessive. It would be very useful to obtain manufacturer sound data for these air handling
units and the sound attenuators used. If these levels are confirmed by the manufacturer’s data,
other measures will be necessary, such as replacing the sound attenuator with a longer model
that can address more effectively the low frequency noises.

Return Path
Two return ducts are routed from each air handling unit to the occupied spaces.
For AHU-1, the large return duct penetrating from the mechanical room into the classroom, on
the left side of the room, extends outside of the classroom ceiling to terminate above an office
space. This extension will include an elbow and a sound attenuator. The static pressure through
this attenuator (including the system effects) should not exceed 0.3 inches. We note that the
drawings for the base building already showed a sound attenuator at the wall penetration; it is
not clear whether this attenuator already exists, or will be replaced by the new one, or two
attenuators will be used. If indeed two attenuators are used, one needs to make sure that there is
no excessive static pressure due to the two attenuators located in close proximity to each other.
Assuming that only one attenuator is mounted in the duct, we anticipate that the noise levels in
the office above which this duct terminates will exceed NC-60, which is unacceptable. We
recommend extending the duct further so that it terminates over the corridor, and it also allows
using a longer sound attenuator (7- to 9-ft.) Even so, the resulting noise levels will still be about
NC-50, which is still louder than what is customary in the Cambridge HBS buildings. Given the
already existing equipment, duct layout and ceiling constructions there are no other immediate
solutions to improve the noise conditions. However, if manufacturer sound data could be
provided for the equipment and this data is somewhat lower than our estimation, there is a
chance that this noise will be somewhat quieter; we will confirm this once we receive these data.
Similarly, the large return duct for AHU-2 is routed above the storage and corridor areas outside
of the Flexible room. We note that, in this case, the duct splits to two directions (in a T shape.)
This ductwork should also be elongated in both directions to allow for 7- to 9-ft. long sound
attenuators, and another about 7 feet of internally lined duct upstream of the attenuator. You
may consider a custom T-shape attenuator for this location, to locate at the duct split. We
anticipate that high-velocity attenuators need to be selected. We anticipate that the noise levels
in the Corridor even after taking these measures will be about NC-50.
Stephen Decatur
April 20, 2009
Page 3

We note that in the most recent drawing (received 4/15/09), the 600x500 mm return duct (from
AHU-1) that was previously routed to the Pantry, is now routed to the Classroom. We anticipate
that the noise levels due to this condition will be about NC-40, which is excessive for this space.
We recommend terminating the duct above the Pantry and creating a transfer duct in the wall
between the Pantry and the Classroom. This transfer duct should have a center line of about 8
feet, include two elbows, and be internally lined.
For the same reason, we would prefer not to have a return duct from AHU-2 extending all the
way to the Flexible room. This duct should terminate above the corridor, and a transfer duct be
added in the wall between the Flexible room and corridor.
We anticipate that the noise in the Pantry due to the return/exhaust ducts terminated in the
ceiling plenum will be about NC-50. This level is quite loud, but acceptable for this space. The
system mirrored on the opposite side of the building (return duct, along with a second exhaust
duct) will likely generate similar noise levels in the Corridor just outside of the Flexible room.
It is important to note that there are numerous rooms where walls will extend and seal to the
structural above for sound isolation reasons. Return transfer ducts (as shown in Detail 4) also
need to be mounted in the walls to the corridor for each room whose walls extend all the way to
the structure (e.g. Conference Rooms.)

There are four different types of terminal boxes provided with the base building, labeled VH-1,
VH-2, V-2 and V-3. In addition, there will be three new terminal boxes for the classroom fit-out
(VAV-1, VAV-2, FPB-1.)
The VH-1 and VH-2 boxes are mainly located in offices and some conference rooms. Based on
the sound data that was provided for this equipment, we anticipate that the noise levels in the
spaces they serve will be around NC-35 to NC-40.
V-2 boxes are serving several conference rooms, reception areas and the lounge. We estimate
that the noise levels associated with this equipment will be about NC-40.
The noise in the corridor at the elevators area will be about NC-45, from the V-3 boxes.
The radiated noise from the new terminal boxes (FPB-1 and VAV-2) transmitting to the lounge
will be about NC-35.
At our 4/14/09 meeting at Harvard, we discussed that no additional measures will be taken at
this time to further attenuate the noise radiating from the terminal boxes in the lounge or other
conference rooms. If these levels prove to be excessive in some of these spaces, the ceiling
finish can be upgraded at a later time, to provide better sound isolation from this equipment.
We note that all ductwork downstream of the terminal boxes is the flex type as opposed to solid
sheet metal duct. Two noise issues are associated with this approach: (1) Flex duct allows the
noise to easily break-out and transmit through its entire length, as opposed to the solid sheet
metal duct, which contains better the noise and allows it to be attenuated by the internal lining
prior to reaching the diffuser; (2) long lengths of flex duct have the tendency to bend over time,
creating excessive air turbulence and therefore noise. For this reason, we would prefer to see
internally lined solid sheet metal duct used for any new ductwork, with only about 3 feet of flex
duct used prior to the diffuser.
Stephen Decatur
April 20, 2009
Page 4

Smoke fan supply and exhaust ducts are routed at several locations onto the floor, including at
the 90-person classroom. Since the smoke fans are scheduled to operate only in case of
emergency, it was decided not to take any additional measures to control the noise due to this


We recently received updated sound data (sound power levels) for the chiller and PAUs located
on the floor above. Based on this data, we determined that the noise levels transmitted to the
floor below will be louder than originally anticipated. Nevertheless, the levels will be around
NC-35 to NC-40, within the noise goals for the project.


Any existing VAV boxes will be removed from the classroom. Instead, the classroom will be
served by two new VAV boxes (VAV-1 and VAV-2) and one fan powered box (FPB-1). All
three boxes will be located in the Lounge’s ceiling plenum, and be ducted to the classroom.
We would like to see the following airflow velocities through the supply ductwork downstream
of the terminal boxes:
• The 14x12, 14x10 and 14x8 downstream of the VAV boxes should be resized to allow
for airflow velocities no higher of about 500 feet per minute (FPM). Currently the
velocities through these ducts are about 700 FPM.
• The 16x14 duct downstream of FPB-1 also needs to be resized to allow for
approximately 500 FPM airflow velocities, particularly downstream of the first elbow.
• The individual run-outs to the diffusers (both the square and linear ones) should be sized
to allow for airflow velocities no higher than about 400 FPM. (The size of these
branches is not indicated at this time.)
The new ductwork downstream of the terminal boxes should be internally lined.
The large return duct from AHU-1 penetrating into the classroom close to the intersection of
columns W and 7A/ST (on the west side of the room) will be enclosed in a gypsum board
construction, to avoid duct break-out noise into the classroom. The return duct penetrating into
the classroom on the east side (to the left of the intersection of columns W and 11/ST) should be
rerouted to the Pantry as discussed in the previous section.
A 350-x50-mm duct extends over the toilet room, penetrates into the classroom and extends
further to the Electric Room. This duct should be wrapped with vinyl loaded duct lagging
product such as the one by Sound Seal (cut sheet attached), mainly to prevent crosstalk between
the toilet room and the classroom.

* * * * *
Stephen Decatur
April 20, 2009
Page 5

I trust this letter provides you with the information you need at this time. Please call (617-499-
8069) or e-mail (ipieleanu@acentech.com) if you have questions or need additional information.
Acentech Incorporated

Ioana N. Pieleanu
Consultant in Acoustics

Encl: Duct enclosure detail

Duct Lagging by Sound Seal cut sheet

j:\620xxx\6203xx\620360 - harvard center shanghai\mechanical systems noise control.doc




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