University investigates noise from HVACR systems.

ATLANTA - Indoor noise, especially from heating and air-conditioning systems, can impact productivity, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

To find out how much noise affects workers, ASHRAE is funding a new study.

"Productivity and Perception Based on Evaluation of Indoor Noise Criteria" will study how background noise can affect productivity, hindering communication, impacting sleep and degrading overall occupant comfort and satisfaction.

According to Lily Wang from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and principal investigator of the study, heating and ventilating systems are commonly the primary source of such noise.

"Because ambient noise is something we continually encounter in our everyday environments, evaluation of that noise is crucial to improve occupant satisfaction," she said.

The study will assess indoor noise criteria systems to evaluate the acceptability of background noise levels in buildings.

"Our goal is to determine how these systems impact productivity and perceptions," said Wang. "Based on the results, modifications to the noise criteria systems may be made, allowing the rating systems to account better for the subjective results."