Acoustiblok Silences Baxter Regional Medical Center’s HVAC Noise Issue

October 31, 2017

Baxter Regional Medical Center in Arkansas, acquired a noise issue with the installation of an HVAC and stand-by generator for the facility’s surgery department. Fortunately, the noise problem was swiftly eradicated with the placement of Acoustiblok’s Industrial All Weather Sound Panels®(IAWSP’s), specially engineered to silence troublesome noise challenges.

Marshall Campbell, Director of Engineering at Baxter said, “We are extremely happy with the results. Since the installation of Acoustiblok’s Industrial All Weather Sound Panels the hospital has not received a single noise complaint from the community.”

Baxter Regional Medical Center (BRMC), located in Mountain Home, Arkansas, serves patients from a two-state, 14-county area throughout north-central Arkansas and south-central Missouri. BRMC is a 268 all-private bed facility with more than 100 physicians on staff. The hospital encompasses 500,000 square feet of space and is the largest employer in Baxter County. With numerous patient satisfaction awards, Baxter Regional has committed itself to providing excellent care and preserving BRMC as a comprehensive, independent, community-driven health system.

Part of BRMC’s strategic plan included an energy performance initiative. After some tests were taken and the data reviewed, it was noted that the entire medical center was kept very cold inside and energy could be saved by raising the facility’s temperature up several degrees; however, the entire medical center was on one system and the surgical rooms required lower temperatures.

Due to the challenge, it was decided to purchase a 170-ton HVAC system and backup generator to operate as completely separate units for only the surgery department. It was installed at the back of the hospital close to the surgery unit–a seemingly perfect location away from view.

Unfortunately, soon after the HVAC and stand-by generator were installed Baxter started to receive complaints from residents on the hill behind the hospital. The units had been installed at the bottom of the hill and the sound was creating an amphitheater affect; the sound was traveling directly up the hill into the resident’s homes.

Campbell headed up the project to find a solution to the noise problem quickly and efficiently—the first time. An independent acoustic consultant was called in to do a site analysis and give his recommendations. The initial sound measurements were an upsetting 250-315Hz constant tone on the hill where the residents were being impacted.

The engineer submitted several options; after reviewing the choices, BRMC decided to go with Acoustiblok’s IAWSP’s because these sound deadening panels are considered to be the “Cadillac of Systems” reducing difficult noise problems quickly and effectively.

HVAC and generator noise are two of the most common noise problems in commercial and industrial settings. Organizations such as healthcare facilities are increasingly aware that HVAC/generator noise can contribute to customer complaints and possible health issues for guests, hospital staff and neighbors. Nowadays, addressing the acoustical issues of air handling systems and generators is just as important as taking care of air flow heating/cooling requirements.

Installation of the Industrial All Weather Sound Panels 
The Industrial All Weather Sound Panels, originally designed for offshore drilling rigs and tested to withstand 270 MPH wind loads, were easily installed around the hospitals HVAC chillers /generator equipment (see photos) with a hinged door for maintenance access and a custom panel for the intake and exhaust.

According to Campbell, the hospital's independent acoustical engineer took sound measurements before and after the installation. A complete final site analysis done after the installation found the residences on the hill who had been experiencing an annoying 315 Hz tone were no longer hearing anything audible, and the sound measurements did not show any evidence of any tone whatsoever.

Marshall said, “The installation went smoothly and the panels look great. Our Acoustiblok consultant, Jay Boland, was very helpful; knowledgeable and called me back quickly with the answers to my questions. I would recommend the panels for similar noise problems. We are currently considering Acoustiblok products for a new project to reduce noise on our medical/surgical floors. We are a patient-centered organization and want to do everything possible to facilitate patient healing.”

Lahnie Johnson, president and founder of Acoustiblok said, “We are thrilled with the results. Our Industrial All Weather Sound Panels are uniquely constructed to be both sound absorbing (NRC 1.00) and sound blocking (STC 29-35) to stop sound from penetrating through the panel—a meaningful advantage. The high sound absorbency of the panels substantially brings down the acoustical energy around the generator and HVAC chillers by eliminating all sound reflections in the area, while the Acoustiblok “Blok16” material in the panels allows it to also be an excellent sound barrier. These qualities made Industrial All Weather Sound Panels the perfect solution for Baxter Regional Medical Center’s HVAC/generator noise problem. Both cost effective and easy-to-install, they will perform at their highest level year around–even in harsh winter weather and hot humid summers.”

He went on to say, “Water, moisture, humidity salt air or salt water, dirt, dust, UV, chlorine air, corrosion, and most harsh chemicals do not affect our Industrial All Weather Sound Panels. The sound panels are also available with an acoustically transparent five micron stainless steel dust filter for outdoor use in the world’s toughest environments, from the mining industry to the desert areas of the Middle East, or anywhere dust is a concern. Acoustiblok’s IAWSP’s are extremely durable and are currently in use by the US military and industries throughout the world including power plants.”


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