SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., December 30, 2021 – Simply described, Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) are the conditions inside of a building such as air quality, access to daylight and views, acoustic conditions, lighting, temperature, and ergonomics to minimize stress and maximize comfort. IEQ encompasses Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), which focuses on what we breathe when we’re inside buildings. Improved IAQ has a tremendous impact on our health and wellbeing. It’s also an important COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air, helping to safeguard against disease outbreaks.
IAQ starts with adequate ventilation and exhaust. Indoor spaces must be well ventilated to protect our health and prevent the build-up of pollutants, toxins, and allergens. This is particularly true as structures become increasingly air-sealed, which can lock in indoor airborne contaminants.
Sound Insulation as a Means to Raise IAQ
Many airports in the U.S. have created sound insulation programs to reduce noise impact to nearby homes and noise sensitive structures, including places of worship and schools. These programs provide acoustical treatments to eligible properties to include acoustical doors and windows. They also furnish ventilation modifications, such as Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) units. ERV’s are used to improve the air quality within a space. They draw fresh air into buildings while pushing stale air out. To improve a facility’s energy efficiency, ERV’s recover energy from the exhaust air streams and transfer that energy to the outside air brought in for occupant ventilation. This “free” energy reduces the amount of mechanical energy required to condition the outside air. In summer, incoming air is cooled by the outgoing exhaust air. During winter, the opposite occurs, with incoming cool air being heated by energy from the exhaust. The result is better IAQ and lower energy bills.
Gertrude E. Chamberlin Elementary School (Chamberlin Elementary)
Jones Payne recently completed a sound insulation project at Chamberlin Elementary in South Burlington, VT. The school sits less than half a mile from Burlington International Airport (BTV) and experiences daily interruptions from the sound of aircraft. BTV received a $1.65 million federal grant to upgrade the school’s ventilation system so that doors and windows can remain closed year-round to reduce aircraft noise in the classrooms and other learning spaces.
Jones Payne serves as primary noise consultant for BTV’s Sound Insulation Program (Program). The Jones Payne team, including C3
Engineers, designed the ventilation package for the school. Multiple ERVs were installed to provide fresh air to the building while exhausting the stale air to the outside. The new system provides energy savings. It also supplies mechanical exhaust not previously present at the school, helping to filter air and reducing the presence of COVID-19. New air conditioning was also added to classrooms to ensure windows can stay closed.
Pictured Left: One of the new ERVs installed atop the roof at Chamberlin Elementary
Since 1984, Jones Payne has provided program management services to federally funded airport sound insulation programs. Team members specialize in installation of acoustical treatments and ventilation systems, creating healthier inside environments for over 35,000 homes across the country.