Rolling green hills and pastoral settings are a top draw for residents and visitors to Lynchburg, Virginia. When noise from two aging 125-ton chillers at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in downtown Lynchburg began disturbing neighbors in the hilltop community outside the downtown area, jail officials wasted no time finding a solution that would return the peace and quiet its neighbors had always enjoyed.
When complaints began coming in, it was not from the facility’s immediate neighbors, but from residents on hilltops surrounding the jail. Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority officials first focused on determining whether they were in compliance with local ordinances and regulations governing noise, and found that they were in compliance.
“We were below acceptable noise levels, but we wanted to do the right thing and find a solution that met our budget and installation needs, while restoring quiet to the neighbors,” said Kenneth Floyd, maintenance director at the jail.
Floyd said he searched online for a noise abatement solution and came across the Acoustiblok website; one product, Acoustifence, met the facility’s needs and was available in the nine-foot height necessary to be effective.
Acoustiblok Chief Operating Officer Marilyn Myers worked with Floyd in determining the best solution for quieting the jail’s chiller noise. Acoustiblok provides indoor and outdoor noise deadening products for a myriad of applications; Myers determined that the easy to install Acoustifence material would offer the best all-around sound abatement at the right price.
“It’s working very well,” Floyd said. “We installed it around the chillers, and I was surprised at how easy it was to install because it is pretty heavy.
“But we haven’t had a single complaint since it went up.”
The reciprocating chillers, which have been in place since the jail was built in 1998, are air-cooled. Noise emanating into critical areas: screw compressors (on the bottom of the unit) generate mid/hi frequency noise; Up-blast fans (on the top) generate low frequency noise. This is one type of industrial noise pollution that health experts warn can be hazardous to the health of individuals subjected to it on an ongoing basis.
World Fence News defines Acoustifence as a “new defense against outdoor noise pollution.” Commonly employed in industrial usage, private airports, construction sites, mass transit rail lines and even dog kennels, it is now available for residential use.
The Acoustifence is a unique 1/8th- inch thick heavy mineral filled viscoelastic acoustical material available in a standard 6-foot x 30-foot (3mm x 1.83m x 9.14m), although longer lengths and taller heights are available. To suit their needs, jail officials ordered 90 feet of 9-foot tall Acoustifence to wrap around their chillers. Unlike fences or shrubs, Acoustifence performs well at blocking direct sound while reducing reflective sound at the same time.
Considering that the ideal sound-reducing construction is heavy, limp and air tight, the one-lb. per sq. ft. flexible Acoustifence can be an excellent first step in reducing your noise level. Acoustifence has acoustical properties that provide a lab-certified STC (sound transmission classification) of 28. While a 28 dB reduction represents a decrease of 85% to the human ear, this will be very relevant to surrounding objects from which sound will reflect over or around your fence.
This is not the first time a jail has utilized Acoustiblok sound abatement material to resolve a noise problem. in 2010, a Pinellas County, Florida jail installed Acoustiblok “All Weather Sound Panels” to resolve a noise problem caused by sound reverberations and echo in the jail’s concrete videoconferencing room.
“Every noise issue we’re faced with calls for a solution that addresses a host of unique variables,” said
Lahnie Johnson, president and founder of Acoustiblok, Inc.
“We offer a variety of noise reduction products, and the expertise to determine the best approach to resolve every problem.”