Designing Health Care Facilities for Optimal IEQ

Aug 30, 2022 by Pat Grotlisch

OnBoard Newsletter | August 2022

Acoustics are crucial to Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

OnBoard Newsletter - Interior Image

When a surgeon is operating or a doctor is delivering important news to a patient, sound control is essential. And in certain areas of hospitals and urgent care centers, the Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating between rooms must be higher to produce quieter results.

For example, in a hospital, the minimum STC rating should be 60 between an operating room and an adjacent MRI scanner room while the STC between a consultation room and an adjacent public space can be 50. Between a hospital patient room and an adjacent corridor (with entrance), the STC can be 35. The Facility Guideline Institute (FGI) provides these recommendations.

Founded in 1998, FGI is an independent, nonprofit organization that develops guidelines for the design and construction of hospitals and other health care facilities. An excellent resource to find assemblies that meet FGI requirements is National Gypsum’s The SoundBook®.

OnBoard Chart - August 2022 - 375 wide
Facility Guideline Institute Recommendations

High-performance acoustics criteria

Design a high-performance hospital by meeting additional acoustical criteria for green rating requirements. Achieve WELL Building Standard sound barriers credits in v1 and v2 by providing adequate noise isolation and improving speech privacy. Implement acoustic comfort strategies to meet specific sound control performance targets for Green Globes’ green building initiative. And achieve LEED indoor environmental quality acoustic performance credits for LEED v4 and v4.1 by addressing issues that include HVAC background noise and reverberation time.

Indoor Air Quality is also key

Another consideration for optimal IEQ in health care facilities is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). To meet air-quality requirements for these sensitive environments, specify low VOC-emitting building products. Also, choose products with PURPLE paper and SPORGARD® technology to help reduce the possibility of mold and mildew from entering hospital rooms or patient treatment areas. For more information, read our recent insightful blog post, “Indoor Air Quality Solutions for Health Care Facilities."

“The EPA states in their publication, “The Inside Story,” that The Three Pillars to Good Indoor Air are: ventilation, filtration and source control – source control being the most important. That’s why specifying products that are UL GREENGUARD certified is incredibly important. Acute care facilities are designed for people that are among the most vulnerable and specifying products that do not pollute the indoor air is a priority.”

Pat Grotlisch


Pat Grotlisch

Construction Design ManagerNational Gypsum Company

Product Spotlight: Gold Bond SoundBreak XP Wall Board and Gold Bond XP Family of Products

Pick PURPLE for Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

There’s a reason you see PURPLE everywhere. The Gold Bond® XP® family of products has protective qualities that set these building products apart. And the same features that set XP apart will help you achieve enhanced IEQ in the buildings you design. When Indoor Air Quality is a concern, XP products all provide extra mold and mildew protection and are UL GREENGUARD Gold Certified for Low Chemical Emissions. If you are striving for LEED certification credits or other green building initiatives, XP products will help you meet those goals.

is a cornerstone of IEQ. When you need to reduce noise between rooms, Gold Bond SoundBreak XP Wall® Board and Gold Bond SoundBreak XP Ceiling® Board get the job done easily. Use SoundBreak XP Wall Board for interior assemblies, where sound transmission between rooms or dwelling units is a concern. Apply SoundBreak XP Ceiling Board for floor-ceiling assemblies, where airborne sound transmission and structurally transmitted sound are a concern.

There is a reason so many of your peers specify XP products whenever and wherever quality matters. PURPLE provides confidence and peace of mind. It’s also the answer to your question: Which products should I specify to build a higher level of IEQ? PURPLE, of course. For help selecting the best XP products to use for your next project, consult with your construction designer manager.

“In LEED, the Indoor Environmental Quality category addresses design strategies and environmental factors. Acoustic design continues to be a factor at the forefront. One excellent tool for acoustical guidance is The SoundBook 2.0. It provides technical details and hundreds of tested, sound-rated assembly drawings. This resource, along with the help of the National Gypsum's construction design managers, can answer all your acoustical questions.”

Alan Zeedyk


Alan Zeedyk

Construction Design ManagerNational Gypsum Company

Project Profile: San Antonio State Hospital, San Antonio, TX

Courtesy of HKS Inc.

Architect: HKS Inc., Dallas, TX

Owner: Texas Health and Human Services, Austin, TX

Construction Manager: Vaughn Construction, San Antonio, TX

Subcontractor: Marek Brothers, San Antonio TX

When completed in 2024, the fully modernized San Antonio State Hospital will replace an existing, outdated psychiatric facility in San Antonio, TX. It is a joint project between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. This nearly 480,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art hospital will be a welcome addition to the healthcare landscape in the Lone Star State.

Read more about this project and the products used. 

More IEQ Resources

We have two IEQ-centered continuing education opportunities for you and your team:

The Indoor Air Quality session is new while the Acoustically Enhanced session stays in demand. Both were developed by our Construction Design Managers, who have a wealth of knowledge in IEQ and sustainability, and are well worth your time investment.

For more information or to schedule a continuing education session, contact your Construction Design Manager today. Let us help you design and build better together!

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