US Navy Creates New Tool to Provide Sound Relief for Homeowners

Like commercial airports, the noise from military airfields often adversely impacts the quality of life in communities that are located nearby on multiple levels. Many complain of disturbed sleep, disruption of daily indoor activities, and a declined quality of life. Military noise also comes with an economic cost, with large impacts on house price depreciation.

Recognizing this, in 2005 the Department of the Navy’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC)  published “Guidelines  for Sound Insulation Exposed to Aircraft Operations”. This document described proper construction techniques and materials for new construction or renovations to existing structures to minimize noise impacts. The Guidelines included a supplemental computer program that could help determine the types and costs of materials needed to achieve lower interior noise levels.

Recently, NAVFAC hired a team of consultants led by Blue Ridge Research and Consulting, LLC to update the Guidelines. Jones Payne played a key role in this project by updating information from the 2005 publication in the following areas:

  • Types of acoustical products, manufacturers and costs.
  • Assemblies of exterior envelope elements such as walls, ceilings, roofs, windows and doors that contribute to interior noise levels.
  • STC ratings and U-values for products and typical assemblies.
  • Labor rates and code requirements for design and installation of noise reduction treatments in different climate and code regulatory zones across the country.

Most importantly, Jones Payne organized this information into a back-end database that allows the Guidelines’ supplemental computer program (Sound Insulation Estimator) to create the most cost-effective sound insulation solutions for residential, commercial and institutional type structures exposed to noise inside contours ranging from 60 dB to 80 dB.  

As stated by Andrew Walter, Jones Payne’s Director of Information Management:

“The Sound Insulation Estimator is the only comprehensive, self-guided tool of its kind available to a non-professional owner that provides the information normally available from architects, engineers, contractors, and acoustical consultants. Homeowners can quickly and easily enter information and receive a basic “acoustical upgrade” plan, including estimated costs, without having to involve a team of specialists”. 

The Guidelines, the Sound Insulation Estimator and its User Guide are available as free downloads on the Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) website. WBDG is a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences.