Create a Calm and Quiet Environment with Acoustic Panels
By Vince Cavaseno
Dog kennels and shelters can be noisy places. The normally hard surfaces used for walls, floors and ceilings can create an echo chamber where one dog’s barking can reverberate throughout the entire facility.
What’s more, when one dog starts barking, it can excite other dogs, who then join in the cacophony, creating an unhealthy environment for both animals and humans.
Acoustic panels, with their combination of superb sound absorption, simple installation, rugged construction and easy cleanability are the preferred choice of one architectural firm that designs many animal shelters and kennels.
A prominent architecture firm based out of Ft. Worth, TX has carved out a niche in designing animal shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth/Austin area. The firm started designing animal shelters about twenty years ago and has specified acoustical panels for shelters and kennels for the past six years. In that time, they’ve specified some twenty kennels with acoustical panels.
“Acoustic panels are extremely effective in this application, and all of our clients are very pleased with the noise reduction they provide,” says a principal of the firm.
According to the firm, panels are typically installed on the walls, starting with the wall opposite the kennels and the end walls of the kennel rooms. If windows or other wall obstacles are present, panels can also be installed on the wall behind the kennels or on the ceiling. Acoustic Panels can be fabricated in custom sizes up to 10 ft. in length and painted to match any room décor. They are available in steel, galvanized steel and aluminum, and install quickly and easily.
The following are some specific examples of animal shelters recently specified by the architect with acoustic panels.
City of Seguin, TX Animal Shelter
The City of Seguin opened a new animal shelter in August 2017. The shelter has about 2,000 sq. ft. of rooms where up to forty three dogs can be housed, including an adoptable dog room, a stray/impound room, an isolation room and a quarantine room. The shelter’s design called for a total of thirty four panels. They range in size from 10 ft. x 30 in., down to 24 in. x 24 in.
According to Shelly Lutz, Senior Officer and Animal Services Manager at the Seguin facility, “Our previous shelter did not provide any sound reduction and was deafening at times. The panels help keep the echo down. When we have barkers, the others don’t seem to feed off it as much because the echo is reduced. In all the facilities I have worked in my 20 years’ experience, noise levels have always been an issue, causing animals to be stressed.”
Patriot Paws, Rockwall, TX
For returning veterans who have suffered war–related physical and psychological trauma, Patriot Paws offers a unique service. The organization trains service dogs to help disabled vets live independently and successfully perform activities of daily living and reintegrate into society.
Patriot Paws started out operating from a storefront in 2006 but has since moved to a facility that can house and train as many as twenty five dogs. The 1,180 sq. ft. facility is outfitted with ten panels, which range in size from 9 ft. 8 in. x 24 in., down to 32 in. x 24 in.
Deer Park Animal Shelter, Deer Park, TX
The Deer Park, TX animal shelter just had its grand opening on May 21st of this year. The new 7,500 sq. ft. facility features twenty four dog kennels and six dog quarantine kennels, along with cat rooms, a dog “get to know” room and administrative rooms (break room, work room, medical room, food prep room, and offices.) A total of thirty four acoustic panels were installed in the dog kennels and quarantine rooms in sizes ranging from 24 in. x 102 in., down to 12 in. x 36 in. with cutouts to accommodate obstructions.
According to Al Garces, Director of the facility, “The panels work very well with the noise from the dogs. It makes doing our job a lot more tolerable. I have worked in other facilities in the past that had nothing to help with the noise and it was very annoying at times. When a shelter is full and without noise remediation, it’s hard to show dogs to prospective adopters or even do any work–related tasks in the shelter”.
According to the architect: “Acoustic panels are the perfect solution for dog shelters and kennels. By drastically reducing reverberation of barking dogs, they help these facilities keep animals safer, healthier and calmer. We plan to continue to specify acoustic panels in our future animal shelter projects.”
Vince Cavaseno is Technical Writer for Eckel Noise Control Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected] or 617-232-2951.