Combatting noise and odor

Apr 01, 2004

"If your clinic stinks, clients may worry that your medical care stinks, too," says Mark Hafen, AIA, an architect with Animal Arts/Gates Hafen Cochrane in Boulder, Colo. "You can't prevent noise and odors from occurring, but you can prevent them from spreading." Hafen, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member, suggests that you:

  • Absorb the sound. "You can keep noise from bouncing off walls by installing products with high noise-reduction coefficient ratings," Hafen says. These include mylar-faced acoustic ceiling tiles, mylar-faced sound baffles, and sound-absorbing, fabric-wrapped wall panels.
  • Use solid doors. A solid-core wood or hollow metal door absorbs more sound than a hollow-core wood door, Hafen says. "And no door baffles sound if there's a gap," he says. "So install weather-stripping around the door."
  • Raise the roof. Increasing ceiling heights in kennels and wards helps minimize sound bouncing off the ceiling, Hafen says.
  • Eliminate the smell. "The best way to reduce odors is to keep the hospital clean," says Hafen. "Use a high-pressure sprayer with a disinfectant to wash away waste and bacteria that cause odors, and use a floor-drain system."
  • Introduce fresh air. "Ideally, your HVAC system should provide 12 to 14 air changes per hour," Hafen says.
  • Be positive—and negative. Positively pressured rooms discourage entry of air and odors, and negatively pressured rooms hold odors inside, Hafen says. You'll want to create positive pressure in the reception area, and negative pressure in the ward and kennel.