Research

The overarching aim of Concordia Acoustics Lab is to improve acoustic quality and comfort in building spaces by providing a human-centered acoustic design optimization methodology. Here are two projects that we are currently working on.

  1. Sound Quality of HVAC Noise: Occupant comfort does not correlate well to current noise criteria (Noise Criteria or Room Criteria) since they neglect pstchoacoustic characterstics of HVAC noise. As a result, current duct silencers were designed to reduce global sound pressure levels at limited frequencies. In this project, we aim to identify critical psychoacoustic attributes of HVAC noise which influence occupants’ comfort and performance. With the gathered information, we also try to develop a metamaterial-embedded silencer by optimizing geometrical configuration to minimize the adverse effects of HVAC noise.
  2. Speech Privacy in Open-plan Offices: In open-plan offices, too quiet a space can be distracting and reduce speech privacy. One can use electronic sound-masking systems to produce a certain level of background masking noise to render irrelevant speech and activities unnoticeable. The optimal frequency spectrum and sound levels of stationary pseudo-random signals have been investigated and used as masking signals. However, the occupant’s speech level varies according to the schedule of occupancy and activity, and the masking sound needs to be adjusted to balance speech privacy with imperceptibility and acoustic comfort. Currently, there is limited information to determine when human speech activity is present in the space. Thus, we aim to develop a precise method to predict human occupancy in offices and an optimal adaptive algorithm of sound masking systems.