Commercial spaces are often perfect candidates for micro-breweries and tasting rooms. The open sightlines and high ceilings make for a great atmosphere and easy workflow. What is often ignored in these types of facilities, however, is the way sound affects both the customer and the employee experiences.
In most cases the rooms contain hard surfaces everywhere, such as concrete floors, cinder block or gypsum walls, steel roof deck and large windows, all of which lack any kind of absorption of sound. When a sound is created it bounces from a hard surface to hard surface until the energy dissipates. As you inject more sound energy into the space, your issue compounds.
The Importance of Acoustically Treating a Space
Take for example a room that sounds echoey, or reverberant, when a small group is having a conversation. This room is going to become significantly louder when the room fills with people all competing to be heard. Add in live music or a sound system, and all the exuberant energy turns into an unmanageable volume issue causing irritation, discomfort and has the potential for long term hearing damage.
A sonically comfortable space is one to which patrons will return to often. In the restaurant industry noise is the #2 complaint, and there is no reason to think that this would be any different for breweries and brewpubs.
Employee engagement and accuracy are also increased in rooms that are acoustically treated. Adherence to work safety noise levels is becoming more often monitored, as short- and long-term exposure to loud sounds (above 85db) is known to have significant health implications.
What’s the Noise Floor?
Every room has a basic noise level called the noise floor. This is measured while the room is empty but the machinery within the room is running. In most restaurants, this is about 60db (without music playing). Given the machinery involved in a brewery/brewpub, 66-70db is more accurate (again, without music playing).
The sound level of standard conversation is on average 60db, so even with the room empty the speaker is having to push their voice or adopt a more strident tone to be heard while the listener has to strain to hear. As more patrons and staff arrive, more voices compete for the same sonic space. As the volume produced becomes louder, the overall room volume increases as the sound has nowhere to go, and bounces from surface to surface. The 70db quickly can become 90db and louder (threshold of hearing damage).
There is a simple way to mitigate this issue. Acoustic panels are designed to transfer sound energy to heat energy. By covering as little as 20% of the wall surface area in a space, a significant reduction in the sound reflections causes the overall volume of the room to be attenuated. When properly engineered and spaced in the venue, the sound is transformed from a cacophony to a controlled, warm, and pleasing sound that still maintains the energy and vitality so crucial to a social space.
Primacoustic is a leader in the acoustics industry and offers free quotes to customers. The Primacoustic Broadway Acoustic Panels and Ceiling clouds are proven sound absorbers that attenuate evenly over the entire frequency spectrum leaving the room sounding natural yet controlled. All panels are third party tested, Fire and Smoke Rated, and are easily installed.
Primacoustic has also developed a line of panels that can be painted or printed on to match décor, highlight brands, add visual interest or market the business. The panels are the same glass wool fibre core wrapped in a latex covering.
The relatively low cost, ease of installation and dramatic results make acoustically treating your space one of the most impactful “aesthetic” options that can improve your space and your business. Contact us today for a free quote.