Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Fall 2009 – page 4

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An overview of LEED – USA

By Ruth Schiedermayer

LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

This is a certification program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Web page < http://www.usgbc.org/Default.aspx>.

On the Council’s web page, “Green building Research,” Selecting "Research Publications" on the upper right leads to more links.

The “Research Publications,” page has only the following two references to noise that I could find:

— "Sound Control for Improved Outcomes in Healthcare Settings,” (January 2007), by Joseph, A. & Ulrich, R., and
— “Acoustical Barriers to Learning," (2003), by Nelson, P., Sigfrid, S. & Seltz, A.

Sound Control for Improved Outcomes in Healthcare Settings,
From the web site of  The Centre for Health Design (healthdesign.org)

Comments: One suggestion for acoustic privacy is the use of artificial white noise. Having worked in an office with that constant hissing for a couple of years, makes me think that this is not the best solution either. Doors make better privacy shields. The authors also had concerns about medical staff needing to hear alerts, alarms, and messages when such noise is added to a healthcare space. This is especially important in light of IEC 60601‑ 1-8, which makes use of tonal sound by doctors and nurses as another diagnostic tool, and recommends this sound be delivered by medical equipment.
Note the suggestion that patient-chosen music, that is, music selected by the patient based on his/her own preferences and not music chosen by staff or administration, may be beneficial to certain patients. I certainly hope these recommendations are not interpreted to mean that ambient music is to be added, simply increasing the over-all noise levels and making communication more difficult for the hard‑of‑hearing! I also sincerely hope that the patient has the right to refuse music if music is not desired.


Music therapy is not simply playing music for patients, it is involving patients in choosing and producing music. Just because there is music present does not make it therapy!

The second link connects to the article, “Acoustical Barriers to Learning," (2003), by Nelson, P., Sigfrid, S. & Seltz, A.,on the web site of the Accoustical Society of America.

Comments: The USGBC did not provide a link to where the Classroom Acoustics ANSI standard could be purchased, which is:

The USGBC does provide a way for non‑profit and environmental organizations to obtain membership for probably as little as US $300.00 per year. This provides reduced price access to the LEED documents. See the Council’s Categories and Dues page.

Incidentally, doing the search “quiet OR noise OR” on Google produced about 129 references, less than three percent of the pages “acoustic site:usgbc.org”, while searching “energy site:usgbc.org” on Google produced about 3890 references; searching “water site:usgbc.org” produced 2570 references; and finally, searching “green site: usgbc.org” on Google produced about 5800 references.

In the major LEED documents there are not enough references to controlling noise!

LEED for Commercial Interiors v2.0 Registered Project Checklist

Comments: This checklist has points for thermal comfort, daylight and water use reduction, but no entry for acoustics (noise pollution, acoustic comfort etc.). For example, the builder may install a low‑flow toilet that emits excessive noise (above 88 dB A) and not lose any points for it being  so noisy.

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Editor’s note: The information posted on the webpage of LEED Canada (following below) offers hardly anything specific yet with regards to environmental guidelines. It is a recent initiative by the CaGBC and appears to by and large go by what the USGBC has already established.

Timeline update, August 2009:
The first new rating system to launch as part of the LEED Canada Initiative was LEED Canada for Homes, which debuted on March 3. LEED Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance 2009 opened for registration on August 3rd. The update to LEED Canada for New Construction and Major Renovations is scheduled to launch in the last two months of 2009.

The LEED Canada Initiative is the CaGBC’s effort, in collaboration with the USGBC, to develop the next generation of the green building rating system.


LEED in Canada will feature streamlined elements including an integrated rating system, online user interface and third‑party certification by international certification bodies. Through close alignment with the work of the USG BC, this program will contribute to a unified LEED system in North America and will provide

better access to LEED and increase the ability to certify projects more quickly and cheaply for new and existing buildings of all types.
Download an overview of the CaGBC's initiatives at http://www.cagbc.org/

For more information, please contact Customer Service at info@cagbc.org or by phone at 1‑866‑941‑1184.

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Website to track aircraft and their noise around Vancouver International Airport

The Vancouver Airport Authority has launched a website which tracks the flight paths of commercial flights over Metro Vancouver. One can log on to www.yvr.ca/webtrack and view current flight and noise activities on a map of the region with a 10-minute delay (for security reasons) as they occur. The noise readings come from 20 noise-monitoring stations in the area. Airlines, flight numbers, or sensitive flights by police and military are not revealed. There is also a feature for lodging noise complaints!

Entire contents © 2006 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society

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