New ANSI Standard S12.60 on Classroom Acoustics
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The New ANSI Standard
ANSI Standard S12.60 for Classroom Acoustics addresses the issues of both reverberation time and background noise and their
effect on speech intelligibility by placing maximum permissible levels on each.
Under the new standard, the maximum reverberation time in an unoccupied, furnished classroom with a volume under 10,000 cubic
feet is 0.6 seconds, and 0.7 seconds for a classroom between 10,000 and 20,000 cubic feet. The maximum level of background
noise allowed in the same classroom is 35 decibels (dBA).
The standard’s acoustical performance criteria and design requirements apply during the design and construction of all new
classrooms or learning spaces of small-to-moderate size, and, as far as is practical, to the design and reconstruction of
At the present time, the new ANSI standard is voluntary unless referenced by a code, ordinance or regulation. However, school systems may require compliance with the standard as part of their construction documents for new schools.
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