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The green school project : assessment of the measured and perceived acoustical quality for students and teachers in secondary school, Maxwell and Avogadro institutes.

Rel. Arianna Astolfi, Giuseppina Emma Puglisi. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura costruzione citta', 2015


As part of the Green School Project, this thesis focuses on the evaluation of acoustical quality in high school classrooms by means of in-field measurements and subjective investigation.

The two case studies previously mentioned in the Preface that are considered in this work are two Science and Technology high schools Avogadro and Maxwell. They mainly differ in location, period of construction and classrooms dimensions. Avogadro institute, built in the first part of XIX century, is located in the city centre, close to a high vehicular traffic road. Its façade is made by bricks and single-glazed windows and it is characterized by high volumes of about 210 m3 and 280 m3 (T30,o.s- 2kHz 2,1 s and 0,9 s for untreated and treated classrooms, respectively). Maxwell Institute, dating back to the second half of 1900, is placed in a suburban area, nearby a quite road traffic noise street. The facade is made of prefabricated concrete elements and double-glazed windows. It is composed by three types of classrooms with volumes of 170 m3, 210 m3 and 330 m3 (T30,o.5-2kHz0,7 s; 0,51 s and 0,9 s, respectively).

The project of this thesis consists in several chronological stages: the first (July 2014) related classroom acoustics characterization. The second (November/December 2014) focused on teachers' voice monitoring over several working days during their teaching activity, and noise level measurements during lessons. During the third stage (February/March 2015) a seminar was held in each school for the students who would later completed the subjective questionnaires. The fourth stage (April/May 2015) consists in repeating the teachers' voice monitoring and noise level measurements in order to investigate if there are statistically significant differences in the parameters acquired at the beginning and at the end of the school year.

In-field measurements related sound insulation and room acoustics parameters. As far as sound insulation is concerned, the sound reduction index between adjacent and overlapped rooms, standardized noise level difference value of facade and maximum weighted standardized impact sound pressure level were measured in one in representative classroom in each school.

Room acoustical parameters were measured in occupied and unoccupied conditions for classrooms with different acoustical treatment in Avogadro institute, and for three classrooms with single, medium and double volume in Maxwell institute. Reverberation time and clarity were measured accordingly to the ISO 3382 standard using the B&K 4128 HaTS as a sound source. For clarity only one combination source-receiver position was considered.

Room gain and voice support were taken from literature and measured in two different positions in the room, while speech transmission index was measured considering the same source-receiver position assumed for clarity, with the indirect method reported in the IEC 60268-16.

Vocal load of teachers over several working days was monitored by means of the Voice-Care device, recently developed at the Politecnico di Torino. Mean and mode sound pressure level and fundamental frequency, as well as phonation time percentage were obtained for each teacher's monitoring.

Background noise was measured along the entire teachers' voice monitoring allowing the different teaching activities and subjects to be classified in terms of background noise level.

Surveys on the subjective impression of acoustical comfort in classrooms were administered to teachers and students. Subjective perception of teachers regarded noise disturbance, vocal effort and reverberation after each monitoring and averagely across the overall teaching period. Students were asked to rate subjective impressions on noise disturbance, teachers' vocal effort, reverberation, speech intelligibility and overall acoustical quality. All the objective data (acoustics characteristics, teachers' vocal effort and background noise level) are in this thesis analyzed in relation with the subjective data using statistical tools.

The objective of this thesis is the investigation of the relations between objective and subjective perception of acoustic conditions in high school classrooms. In particular, the level of noise measured in different environments during different activities, the vocal effort of teachers, the subjective impression of teachers and students and the physical and acoustical characteristics of classrooms are hereby put in relation.

The outcomes of this analysis are willing to help in the definition of new acoustical requirements for classrooms design, in particular for integration with the existing protocols such as LEED for SCHOOL. The minimum requirements, indeed, now only refer to sound absorption and reduction of noise level. It would therefore be appreciable to add enhanced requirements referred to subjective parameters in relation to objectively measured parameters. This would help in the design of school environments that ensure a high level of teaching and learning quality for both students and teachers.

Relatori: Arianna Astolfi, Giuseppina Emma Puglisi
Soggetti: G Geografia, Antropologia e Luoghi geografici > GG Piemonte
S Scienze e Scienze Applicate > SA Acustica
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura costruzione citta'
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3738





Part I

1. Intelligibility and acoustics comfort in classrooms

2. Green Building Labels and the relevance of acoustic performance

Part II

1. Parameters of acoustical quality

2. Vocal parameters monitoring

Part III

1. Case studies

2. Objective data

2.1 Acoustic characterization of school building

2.2 Voice and background noise level monitoring

3. Subjective data

3.1 Teachers' and students’ questionnaires

3.2 Participants

Part IV

1. Questionnaires

2. Statistical analyses

3. Results

3.1 Overall environmental quality perception

3.2 Acoustical quality perception for students and teachers

3.3 Reverberation

3.4 Intelligibility

3.5 Teachers’ sound pressure level, background noise level and teachers’ perception of vocal effort

3.6 Disturbance of noise and measured level of noise

3.7 Consequences caused by poor acoustics





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