We installed a number of new computers at our good friends Ion Acoustics on Friday. Nothing unusual in that but David commented on how quiet the new PCs were compared to the ones they were replacing. Being an acoustician he’d notice that kind of thing.

Ion work in a large open plan shared office space next to the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol. The space is reasonably active with people talking and working and moving around and noise – either too much or too little – is not an issue.

However David went on to tell me that new computers and other equipment are so quiet that this is actually an issue in some offices and there is an office design standard called BREEAM 2006 (or maybe BREEAM 2011 now) and this specifes both maximum and minimum noise levels in office spaces. I was stunned to learn that there is a minimum noise level that has to be achieved and in some environments the acoustics guys are installing speaker systems that generate white noise as a background in order to bring the noise levels up! Apparently this is to do with privacy concerns as in open plan enviroments as in a very quiet environment phone calls and conversations are too easily overheard.

There we are supplying the latest generation of PCs and Servers that boast near silent, highly energy efficient operation and other people are going around installing (energy consuming) speakers and noise generators to compensate for these advances in technology.



by hostadmin on Apr 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM

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