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Sep 01 2009

Classroom Acoustics

Category: Gasketing & ThresholdsLori @ 12:42 am Comments (2)

schoolsOne of our specwriters recently received a memo from an acoustical consultant regarding a school project that he was working on.  The memo referenced a standard called ANSI-ASA S12.60 – Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools.

This standard was developed by ANSI and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in 2002 (reaffirmed in May of 2009), and contains recommendations for classroom acoustics.  Research has shown that levels of background noise and reverberation that may not be noticeable to adults can have an adverse affect on young childrens’ ability to learn, so this standard is focused on the acoustical qualities needed to achieve a high degree of speech intelligibility in learning spaces.

New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, New York City, and Arlington County Virginia have reportedly adopted the standard, and many other school systems have acoustical requirements in place.  The U.S. Department of Defense has also adopted the standard for all new schools and training facilities under its control.  Even if the standard hasn’t been adopted in a particular area, a school system can choose to reference the standard for school construction projects or alterations to existing schools.

ANSI-ASA S12.60Classroom Door Requirements from ANSI-ASA S12.60:

4.5.5 Entry doors into classrooms and other core learning spaces. To conform to the STC requirements of table 2 for composite walls, entrance doors into classrooms or other core learning spaces would be expected to have laboratory STC ratings of 30 or more in their operable condition. The STC rating for interior entry doors into, or between, music rooms shall be not less than 40. The location of classroom entry doors across a corridor should be staggered to minimize noise transmission between these classrooms. Provisions should be made to ensure that the perimeter seals of sound rated doors are well maintained. Seals for entrance doors should be inspected and adjusted, as necessary, every six months. The gaskets of door seals should never be painted.

The ANSI-ASA S12.60 standard can be downloaded for free HERE (sponsored in part by TRANE, a business of Ingersoll Rand).

The U.S. Access Board has a very informative page on this topic:  Implementing Classroom Acoustic Standards:  A Progress Report.

If you know of a state or school system that has adopted this standard, please leave a comment.

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2 Responses to “Classroom Acoustics”

  1. Greg Arnold says:

    Hi Lori. By the way great website. I just came across this acoustic report on a school project in Pennsylvania. I am currently working thru the document and adding seals where needed.

    Thanks again for the great info on this site


  2. Debbie Stewart says:


    I ran into these accoustic requirements on classroom doors as part of a LEED project. The report I read
    stated that the STC requirement on classroom entrance doors was 35 not 30. Of course, when I checked with the wood
    door manufacturers on sealing requirements, none of them had tested for STC 35 without an automatic door
    bottom – which most school districts don’t want to deal with. So, that first LEED school has automatic
    door bottoms on the entrance doors.

    Recently, I had another bit of feedback from an architect on another LEED school project. When I
    questioned whether the classroom entrance doors needed to meet the STC 35 requirements, I was told that
    “Pre-requisite 3 of the Indoor Environment Quality Section states that entrance doors into classrooms are
    exempt from being required to meet the STC rating of 35.”

    You seem to be one of the IR “experts” on codes. I know I would appreciate any training or clarification on
    this LEED for Schools issue.


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