• When Noise Becomes a Nuisance: How to Ensure Poorly Designed Architecural Acoustics Doesn’t Take a Bite out of Your Business

    As a whole, the restaurant and food service industry is a notoriously tough one. From well-known franchises to an independent establishment, the struggle is real and the numbers are bleak. Half of restaurants fail within four years and only make two per cent in profit. The average restaurant margin is around six per cent and owners are constantly trying to balance the demands of food preparation with running a viable business. The challenge is to create memorable client experiences that drive recurring visits because acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones. But for restaurants, the overall customer experience is that much more critical and more subjective – and in some cases, subconscious. The obvious elements are food quality, service and cost. But there are many intangible items that can add or detract from the customer experience and ambiance. These intangibles can make or break a repeat customer. […]

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  • Industry can cause interruptive Environmental Noise

    What to do when Environmental Noise Impacts the Peace and Comfort of Your Home

    If it seems like we have been making a lot of noise in our blog lately about noise, you’re right. It is a timely issue. Across the country, municipalities and ministries are repeatedly called to intervene when residents complain about noise disrupting their peace and quiet. Aside from being a nuisance, there are countless studies that discuss the impact of environmental noise on sleep and how prolonged exposure or excessive noise can cause health problems. Loud music occasionally from your neighbour is annoying but usually manageable. It’s a different situation when the noise is being generated by factories or commercial facilities in your backyard. While it’s not as easy as asking them to turn the volume down, there are steps to have the issue addressed. While there are some neighbours who find all noise intrusive, generally most complaints are legitimate and must be investigated. Each municipality has its own noise […]

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  • Why Sending Employees Overseas Keeps them Coming Back

    Exchange program provides opportunity to experience another country Experiencing life in other countries broadens horizons and allows you to learn about culture, food and people in another part of the globe. For many years, universities and colleges have embraced study abroad programs as an academically enriched opportunity. Employers agree. More than 80 percent of employers (according to Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014.) that hire recruits with cross-cultural understanding and knowledge of the global marketplace say these employees enhance their company’s competitiveness. If you love something, set it free While companies may want people with global experience, the question is how to get it. Many of our younger team members want to travel so we wanted to figure out how to deliver that option with the benefit of gaining professional expertise without losing our employees to an overseas job offer. The answer for us was to create an exchange […]

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  • Open offices present interesting challenges for room acoustics

    Room Acoustics: Designing an Open Office That Doesn’t Compromise Privacy or Productivity

    Open office layouts are no longer a tech or creative sector trend. They are becoming much more common in a variety of workplaces and for good reason. With proper design and room acoustics, open office spaces can provide a collaborative and efficient workplace while saving a lot of space. Success of an Open Office Design is About More Than Interior Room Acoustics Your workplace should be seen as a tool to gain a competitive advantage. Design a space that positively impacts the way people work. You don’t get the collaborative and productivity benefits by default. It requires some thought, and it requires a close look at your organization and how you operate or how you want to operate. We recently relocated and designed a completely open office. For us, it was important that our office mirrored our values and this meant ensuring we maintained a transparent, friendly and welcoming environment. […]

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  • Noise Complaints in a Commercial / Office environment

    Noisy Neighbours in Commercial Properties: Tips to Avoid Noise Complaints

    How Landlords and Potential Tenants Can Ensure a Peaceful Workplace for All Noise concerns—and noise complaints—are usually associated with residential properties because everyone has the right to peace and quiet in their own home. Commercial properties are often forgotten since they are a place of work. But noise in an office building can be just as annoying and impact a company’s ability to conduct business. For landlords, excessive noise can potentially drive away tenants and increase vacancy rates. Mixed-use Properties Might Mean More Noise Complaints With more and more mixed-use buildings being introduced, noise is a growing concern. Residential units above restaurants and boutique gyms in commercial spaces might not be the right mix. A new gym leasing space in your office building might kick start your new fitness routine but if the thumping beats from the hourly spin classes mean you cannot work, it is an issue. For landlords, […]

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  • A noise audit may be required for your large industrial facilitiy

    Conducting Noise Audits for Industrial Sites

    Environmental noise pollution in Ontario has been regulated since the 1970s. But it wasn’t until years later when residential developments started to encroach on industrial sites that noise pollution became a concern, forcing plant owners to take a long and hard look at the impact on surrounding areas. This also introduced stronger regulations, which can sometimes result in an Acoustic Audit, often termed a Noise Audit by our clients. When is a Noise Audit Required? The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has specific industrial site noise guidelines in place and can mandate when a Noise Audit is required. Generally, you can expect to be audited under the following conditions: If a complaint has been made about your facility; Mitigation has been done; or You apply for a permit and the Ministry is concerned with the report. The Environmental Compliance Approval Process Every industry that emits air or […]

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  • Decibel measurement gauge, measuring noise for Environmental Compliance Approval

    The Environmental Compliance Approval Process: Breaking Down EASR vs. ECA

    In Ontario, any business that releases pollutants into the air, land or water or stores, transports or disposes of waste, is required to have an environmental compliance approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). Under the old system, businesses applied for a Certificate of Approval (CofA) – now known as Environmental Compliance Approval (ECAs) – and had to wait years for their application to be reviewed and hopefully approved. In an effort to streamline the process and reduce wait times, the Ministry launched a modernization process, which created two compliance pathways rather than one. Environmental Compliance: EASR vs. ECA The new system has two forms of approvals: Environmental Compliance Approval (ECAs) and Environmental Activity Sector Registry (EASR). They both require air and noise studies to be conducted before any permit application can happen. Both the ECA and the EASR will provide an approval to discharge contaminants into […]

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  • Wood buildings and houses can pose interesting problems for noise control

    Noise Control Strategies for Wood Buildings

    Wood is an abundant, sustainable and affordable natural resource, which makes it suitable for many types of construction. A report on mid-rise wood frame buildings, commissioned by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), estimated the cost savings of using wood frame for six-storey buildings could amount to about $30 to $40 per square foot—15 to 20 per cent less than a concrete structure. While wood may be more affordable than concrete, it’s not generally regarded as great for noise control. Building Code Changes for Wood Homes Its many benefits make wood a material of choice in single-family homes and townhomes, but it was originally limited to only four-storeys in Ontario. That changed in 2015 when the province caught up to most EU and other North American jurisdictions and changed the building code by adding two more storeys. Changes to the National Building Code followed. Critics claimed expanding wood-frame […]

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  • TTC Streetcar - Vibration Testing for Transit

    Vibration Propagation Testing, Ground-borne Noise and Vibration and Light Rail Transit – Excuse me, what did you say?

    Do Light Rail Transit (LRT) vehicles shake the ground they travel on? Can you feel an LRT in your house while you are trying sleep? Can an LRT shake your house more than an earthquake? The answer is of course, yes. Read on for an explanation of how an LRT can produce vibration and ground-borne noise along its alignment and how we at Aercoustics can ensure this doesn’t happen.

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  • Designing Community Spaces for Acoustics

    Community spaces can involve a plethora of different uses within a building. Many of the uses can become acoustically sensitive depending on the activity being performed. From an acoustic perspective, areas of interest could involve multipurpose rooms, meeting rooms, private offices, lobby or atrium spaces, open/shared work areas or group activity rooms. When designing these spaces for acoustics, there are three main categories of architectural acoustics that are typically considered.

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  • Making condominiums better Part II: Important changes for builders

    Did you hear? The Builder Bulletin 19R has been updated by Tarion! And acoustics plays a big part of the update. The Tarion bulletin provides an incredible depth of information for a builder to follow during design and construction of their building. Previous versions of the document listed various risk areas for condominium projects. Builder Bulletin 19 now lists Acoustics as its own risk area.

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  • Noise and Vibration in Gas Turbine and Cogeneration Power Plants

    You’ve got a new gas turbine simple cycle or cogeneration power plant, or just finished an overhaul or modification, and it generates way too much noise or vibration. What happened and how can it be fixed?

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  • Noise Control & Reduction for Power Generation Industries

    Wind Power and Noise Regulation Across Canada

    Recent commitments made by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at COP21 outline the current desire across the country to push towards renewable sources of energy production and cutting our country’s carbon emissions. A majority of that new renewable power is expected to come from wind power generation. We explore the different ways parts of Canada regulate noise from wind power facilities.

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  • Large facilities need to meet with NPC-300 compliance

    Noise Abatement Action Plans for Large Facilities to Comply with NPC-300

    Many commercial and industrial facilities that at one time had no need to consider their noise impact on the surrounding environment are now finding themselves out of compliance with Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change noise regulations or the cause of ongoing noise complaints, and are under pressure to remediate their operations. To the noise control engineer tasked with developing a noise abatement action plan (or NAAP) to remediate a facility in this situation, this can present a particularly interesting challenge...

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  • Your Second Big Break!

    As a recent post-secondary graduate I have experienced first-hand the challenges faced when finding that first job on the path towards a great career. A quick online search shows the well understood hurdles new graduates have in landing that first big break in the industry. But let’s say you’ve beat the odds and created the right opportunity, what’s next?

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  • Wind Turbines: So what’s all the noise about?

    Over the past few years, regulatory scrutiny over noise from wind turbines has steadily increased in Ontario. We continue to read stories about people complaining about wind turbine noise, and the increased amount of litigation in the industry. Although claims are flying on both sides, the issue that keeps coming up is noise. So what’s all the noise about?

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  • Internships are about more than getting coffee

    My time at Aercoustics has not been entirely what I expected. I came in as an intern in May of 2014, and I expected to be doing what an intern does. In my mind, this involved a lot of sitting at a desk, doing the jobs nobody else wants to do, learning a lot, and waiting for 5pm to roll around. My internship at Aercoustics has surprised me in more ways than one.

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  • Important changes to the National Building Code

    Your home is supposed to be a peaceful retreat…until the neighbours make a lot of noise. Noise can be much more concerning for owners of semi-detached homes, condos, or townhouses where sound can easily travel through walls, even if they are built to code. As an acoustical consultant, I get at least one call a month from condo owners asking if we can come to test noise, or what can be done to minimize noise from their neighbours. Upcoming proposed changes to the National Building Code (NBC) will eventually change the way builders and architects construct homes.

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  • Why culture should matter to SMBs

    Merriam-Webster’s Top Word of 2014 was “Culture”. Culture has a lot of meanings and applications these days, but in recent times there has been a lot of discussion on company or corporate culture, and how your culture either helps or hinders your organization.

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  • Marketing isn’t just for the giants

    What better way to start the New Year (2015) than with a fresh look! Over the last year, here at Aercoustics, we have been working hard to rebrand our firm and develop a strategic marketing plan. Let’s be honest – in most small to medium sized businesses, our resources are slim and marketing/sales expenditures come off the bottom line and take money directly out of the owner’s pockets. We tend to see marketing as a budget item that spikes every few years or so – typically a reactive response that results in creating a new website or attending a slew of conferences or tradeshows.

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