Energy Plants are not “backyard” or “elsewhere” anymore but rather at the center of campuses and urban centers. With heavy and loud equipment running 24×7, we asked ourselves how to mitigate the “scary” noise coming out of them. Here are a few lessons learned from 3 recent case studies: UMass Amherst North Chiller Plant, Ohio University Chilled Water Plant and Tufts University Central Energy Plant.

Different Energy facilities have different challenges and advantages. Chilled Water Plants, on the one hand, require less air, so roof ventilation can be used. The challenge is handling the exterior cooling tower noise. Combustion / tri-gen plants, on the other hand, have the advantage of interior combustion equipment. The large combustion air volume though requires large openings in building walls as well as exterior cooling tower noise. Early in project, identify and address noise concerns with noise professional. There are 3 key locations for noise control: equipment, interior, exterior.

Text in progress for 3 points (check in Jane, Winne)
1) Interior: Equipment choice, lagging and attenuators, absorption in plant; Protect workers and comply with OSHA.
reduce overall plant as noise source – materials – acoustic deck ceiling, acoustic deck diagram, corrugated alum. panel
Case study: Tufts

2) Envelope: block or mitigate sound at the building walls/roof/openings.
Case study:

3) Exterior: outside equipment choice, local barriers and enclosures.
It is important to develop, review, and update noise control design throughout entire project.
Case study: