Technical Resources

They’re Heating Up – How Heat Maps Are Effective in Acoustical Consulting

Posted on: August 24, 2023

By: Peter Holst

Resonance Acoustics specializes in environmental noise assessments as part of our acoustical consulting practice. For building façade design, these studies are required for Building Code compliance to reduce exterior noise intrusion for new construction or significant renovation projects. Project types can include multifamily residential/mixed-use, commercial office, healthcare, education, and other occupied buildings located in cities or near major roadways or other forms of public transportation. An environmental noise study can also quantify noise generated by operations of a new building or equipment to assess impacts on adjacent land use, protect natural habitats, and facilitate community acceptance.

At Resonance, we have developed a streamlined method for using color-coded heat maps to demonstrate the future noise exposure of each building façade and to present expected propagation from a new noise source. The benefits of the heat map approach are many!

  1. Visual Perception: Humans are susceptible to color variations, making it easier to perceive differences in color than differences in numerical values.
  2. Ease of Interpretation: Color heat maps are intuitive and require little to no training to understand.
  3. Highlighting Patterns: Color gradients in heat maps can reveal patterns in the data that correlate to noise sources and make for quick identification of extremes.
  4. Comparison and Analysis: Color heat maps enable easy comparison between different data sets, such as comparing a design with and without a new screen wall at the roadway.

Two project examples are included in this post to demonstrate the effectiveness.

As cities grow and densify, managing noise pollution is critical for sustainable development. Integrating noise studies into building projects fosters environmentally conscious urban planning that considers the well-being of both residents and the environment. Resonance Acoustics has found that using color-coded heat maps helps to make those noise studies clear and effective in conveying acoustical concepts. Please reach out to discuss our approach or if you have a project with a need for acoustical analysis.

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