NC-v4 EQc9: Acoustic performance

  • Provide an acoustically superior environment for occupants

    This credit encourages quality acoustical design, which provides many benefits to occupants including increased comfort and productivity. 

    However, the credit requirements can be difficult and expensive to achieve, and can require careful balancing against other project concerns, such as materials selection or open floor planning. Consider enlisting the expertise of an acoustical consultant to ensure your project meets the applicable requirements for all occupied spacesEnclosed space intended for human activities, excluding those spaces that are intended primarily for other purposes, such as storage rooms and equipment rooms, and that are only occupied occasionally and for short periods of time. Occupied spaces are further classified as regularly occupied or nonregularly occupied spaces based on the duration of the occupancy, individual or multioccupant based on the quantity of occupants, and densely or nondensely occupied spaces based on the concentration of occupants in the space.

    For non-U.S. projects, this credit does allow for an alternative compliance path based on local standards. Project teams will have to show that the local standard is equivalent to the ANSI S12.60–2002 standard.

    What’s New in LEED v4

    This is a new credit for New Construction, Data Centers, Warehouses and Distribution Centers, and Hospitality.

    For Schools:

    • USGBC reduced the noise-level limit from 40 to 35 dBAA decibel (dBA) is a sound pressure level measured with a conventional frequency weighting that roughly approximates how the human ear hears different frequency components of sounds at typical listening levels for speech. (ANSI S12.60–2002).
    • The referenced ANSI S12.60 standard was updated from the 2002 to the 2010 version.
    • The background noise AHRI Standard 885–2008 was added as a referenced standard.
    • The credit requires that all equivalent local codes are used in place of national codes.

    For Healthcare:

    • The Acoustic Environment credit name is changed.

    FAQs

    Is it possible to pursue this as an Innovation credit in a Core & Shell project?

    Yes, it’s possible. Your project would be required to clearly identify which components of the credit will be implemented as part of the developer’s scope of work, and which portions will be part of the tenant’s scope of work and enforced through binding tenant lease or sales agreements. Both the developer and the tenant must sign a legally binding document that includes the technical credit requirements. The document must explicitly state performance requirements for the tenant work. 

    Our project has small meeting rooms in an open-office plan. This situation appears to require an STC of 50. However, this level seems to be (unrealistically) high, especially considering the doors in the wall partition. STC 50 with a (closed) wall can be achieved, but even high STC doors won't achieve an STC of more than 45. Would this mean that the credit is not achievable?

    The credit asks for a Composite STC rating. This essentially means the transmission loss of the wall in addition to the transmission loss of the door, averaged based on their respective areas. So you won't need an STC 50 rated door assembly, but it may still be hard to achieve an STC 50 composite rating unless you have a large wall area with a high STC rating and a small, standard STC 35-40, door.

    Sound transmission requirements for adjacency combinations are listed in Reference Guide Table 1, but not all combinations are included. For example, an STC rating requirement is not provided for conference room and standard/executive office adjacency. Is sound transmission compliance achieved by addressing only project applicable adjacency combinations listed in Table 1?

    All occupied spaces listed in Table 1 should be addressed. If the adjacency combination present in the project is not included in the table, select the most appropriate combination or propose an alternative composite STC rating for that combination.

  • EQ Credit 9: Acoustic performance

    Intent

    To provide workspaces and classrooms that promote occupants’ well-being, productivity, and communications through effective acoustic design.

    Requirements

    For all occupied spacesEnclosed space intended for human activities, excluding those spaces that are intended primarily for other purposes, such as storage rooms and equipment rooms, and that are only occupied occasionally and for short periods of time. Occupied spaces are further classified as regularly occupied or nonregularly occupied spaces based on the duration of the occupancy, individual or multioccupant based on the quantity of occupants, and densely or nondensely occupied spaces based on the concentration of occupants in the space., meet the following requirements, as applicable, for HVAC background noise, sound isolation, reverberationReverberation is an acoustical phenomenon that occurs when sound persists in an enclosed space because of its repeated reflection or scattering on the enclosing surfaces or objects within the space. (ANSI S12.60–2002) time, and sound reinforcement and masking.

    HVAC Background Noise

    Achieve maximum background noise levels from heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems per 2011 ASHRAE Handbook, HVAC Applications, Chapter 48, Table 1; AHRI Standard 885-2008, Table 15; or a local equivalent. Calculate or measure sound levels.

    For measurements, use a sound level meter that conforms to ANSI S1.4 for type 1 (precision) or type 2 (general purpose) sound measurement instrumentation, or a local equivalent.

    Comply with design criteria for HVAC noise levels resulting from the sound transmission paths listed in ASHRAE 2011 Applications Handbook, Table 6; or a local equivalent.

    Sound Isolation

    Meet the composite sound transmission class (STCC) ratings listed in Table 1, or local building code, whichever is more stringent.

    Table 1. Minimum composite sound transmission class ratings for adjacent spaces

    Adjacency combinations STCC
    Residence (within a multifamily residence), hotel or motel room Residence, hotel or motel room 55
    Residence, hotel or motel room Common hallway, stairway 50
    Residence, hotel or motel room Retail 60
    Retail Retail 50
    Standard office Standard office 45
    Executive office Executive office 50
    Conference room Conference room 50
    Office, conference room Hallway, stairway 50
    Mechanical equipment room Occupied area 60



    Reverberation Time

    Meet the reverberation time requirements in Table 3 (adapted from Table 9.1 in the Performance Measurement Protocols for Commercial Buildings1).

    Table 3. Reverberation time requirements

    Room type Application T60 (sec), at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 2000 Hz
    Apartment and condominium < 0.6
    Hotel/motel Individual room or suite < 0.6
    Meeting or banquet room < 0.8
    Office building Executive or private office < 0.6
    Conference room < 0.6
    Teleconference room < 0.6
    Open-plan office without sound masking < 0.8
    Open-plan office with sound masking 0.8
    Courtroom Unamplified speech < 0.7
    Amplified speech < 1.0
    Performing arts space Drama theaters, concert and recital halls Varies by application
    Laboratories Testing or research with minimal speech communication < 1.0
    Extensive phone use and speech communication < 0.6
    Church, mosque, synagogue General assembly with critical music program Varies by application
    Library   < 1.0
    Indoor stadium, gymnasium Gymnasium and natatorium < 2.0
    Large-capacity space with speech amplification < 1.5
    Classroom < 0.6



    Sound Reinforcement and Masking Systems


    Sound Reinforcement

    For all large conference rooms and auditoriums seating more than 50 persons, evaluate whether sound reinforcement and AV playback capabilities are needed.

    If needed, the sound reinforcement systems must meet the following criteria:

    • Achieve a speech transmission index (STI) of at least 0.60 or common intelligibility scale (CIS) rating of at least 0.77 at representative points within the area of coverage to provide acceptable intelligibility.
    • Have a minimum sound level of 70 dBAA decibel (dBA) is a sound pressure level measured with a conventional frequency weighting that roughly approximates how the human ear hears different frequency components of sounds at typical listening levels for speech. (ANSI S12.60–2002) and must
    • Maintain sound-level coverage within +/–3 dB at the 2000 Hz octave bandA section of a frequency scale in which the upper band-edge frequency (f2) is twice the lower band-edge frequency (f1). Each octave band is identified by its center frequency. throughout the space.

    Masking Systems

    For projects that use masking systems, the design levels must not exceed 48 dBA. Ensure that loudspeaker coverage provides uniformity of +/–2 dBA and that speech spectra are effectively masked.


    1 Adapted from ASHRAE (2007d), ASA (2008), ANSI (2002), and CEN (2007)


Design Submittal

PencilDocumentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.

20 Comments

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner ArchEcology, LLC
Jan 10 2017
LEEDuser Member
8881 Thumbs Up

Acoustic Performance Calculator

I have a fully filled out acoustic performance calculator that is showing "No" compliance on Background noise that I believe is because of 2 empty rows in the table. I have enabled Macros. When I attempt to the delete rows 13 and 14, I get an error message that says I can't delete the top 2 rows of the table. Does anyone have an idea about how to resolve this without having to fill out a whole new calculator?

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Cynthia Quinn Principal, Ecological Environments, LLC Jan 22 2017 LEEDuser Member 50 Thumbs Up

I'm not sure about the new calculators, but the v2009 ones you can't delete the top and bottom lines because the background calculations are different. Maybe rows 13 and 14 show up at the top of a new page, so it's treating them like top rows? I would try copying and pasting information up to those and deleting different rows. Hope this helps.

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Adam Stoker Consultant, Sustainability University of Calgary
Oct 20 2016
Guest
28 Thumbs Up

Determining STC ratings for ceiling products

Project Location: Canada

The LEED v4 acoustics credit addresses sound isolation purely through composite STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) ratings. In my research, I have struggled to find STC ratings for ceiling products. Ceiling product manufacturers typically publish acoustic performance information in the form of CAC ratings. Is there a method to convert CAC ratings to STC ratings? What are other projects doing to address the sound isolation requirements associated with vertical adjacencies?

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Oct 20 2016 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

The 'base' STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) rating of a ceiling or floor/ceiling assembly will be provided by the structure of the assembly and that is where I would start to look in order to determine STC ratings.

Ceiling tiles, gypsum, etc. will add to the base STC rating provided by the structure. They don't provide the STC rating by themselves and the amount that they contribute to the rating depends greatly on how they are attached and work with the structure of the assembly.

CAC ratings are only for open ceiling plenum situations where dividing walls do not seal to structure above the ceiling and you have ACT ceilings on both sides of the dividing wall. The CAC rating is analogous to the maximum STC rating that a wall will provide if the top of the wall is open and both sides of the wall use the CAC rated tile.

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Adam Stoker Consultant, Sustainability University of Calgary
Oct 20 2016
Guest
28 Thumbs Up

Sounds transmission - Ceilings and Floors

Project Location: Canada

The LEED v4 acoustics calculator expands on the guidance provided in the credit and reference guide with respect to the sound transmission requirements and associated calculations. It notes that each surface in a room (each plane surrounding the space) should have a separate assembly including the floor and ceiling. What do we do if we're a one story slab-on-grade construction? Do we just ignore those planes?

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Oct 28 2016 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

Hi Adam. Sorry, it took me a while to get my hands on the form so I could take a look. Apparently LEED doesn't think that any rooms will ever have an exterior wall, floor, or ceiling...according to their calculator. The world is just one big building!

I would omit those planes in the calculator. Then, upload a narrative where they ask for "sound transmission documentation" explaining which walls/floors/ceilings are exterior.

Hopefully they'll modify their calculator in the near future, or change the instructions to omit exterior assemblies if there aren't STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) requirements for them. And while they're at it they can change "sound transmission", everywhere that they're using it, to read "sound isolation" so they can at least sound like they know what they're asking for.../rant

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Helena Garcia Bioconstruction Green Building Management
Sep 14 2016
Guest
27 Thumbs Up

dB & STC

Project Location: Spain

I'm working with a Spain Project. Spain doesn't use STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) Rating, Spain assesses with dB. Can you say me what is the relation between STC and dB? How I can convert the dB into STC?

Thank you.

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Sep 16 2016 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

Unfortunately you can't convert between the two with a calculation.

STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) is a single number that is derived using 1/3 Octave BandA section of a frequency scale in which the upper band-edge frequency (f2) is twice the lower band-edge frequency (f1). Each octave band is identified by its center frequency. dB measurements from 125 Hz to 4 kHz. You can research the ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E 413 standard if you're interested in seeing what's involved.

There is no way to go from an STC rating back to decibels.

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Anaïs P
Feb 10 2016
Guest
53 Thumbs Up

Sound transmission for moveable partitions

Project Location: France

Do the requirements about sound transmission have to be applied for moveable partitions in open-plan office?
Achieving the STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) values from table 1 betweeen two standards offices separated by a moveable partition causes significant additionals costs in France. However these values are achievable between two standards offices separated by a wall.

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Feb 11 2016 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

I'm not sure. I can see the situation two ways.

If this was the Schools credit and the partition separated two classrooms, I know that the partition would need to be STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) rated to meet the requirements. I assume this would also be the case if you were designing separate private offices that "had the feature" of being opened up into a larger open office.

However, if the space was being designed as a single, large open office, the operable partition seems to be ancillary to the primary design. Then you could probably argue that it didn't need to be STC rated because it's just an "added feature" to the space, to separate the larger office occasionally, as needed.

I think GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). would need to answer your question for a definitive answer.

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Julien Richard Artelia
Oct 21 2015
Guest
117 Thumbs Up

Core&Shell Project

Hello,
Is it possible to pursue this credit in a Core&Shell certification in the Innovation section ? For example by including the requirements in a tenant lease for the elements that have an impact on the acoustic performance but that are outside of the scope of work of the Core&Shell project ?
Thank you

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Oct 26 2015 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

Sorry for the slow reply. I'm trying to find someone who has more experience with the Core and Shell certification and the Innovation credits.

My gut feeling is that it would be OK to try for the acoustics credits this way as it looks like some of the energy credits can be completed using lease documents in a similar way.

You could try posting over on the Core and Shell forum http://www.leeduser.com/credit/CS-2009/IDc1 .

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Steve Loppnow Sustainability Manager, YR&G Nov 04 2015 LEEDuser Expert 3308 Thumbs Up

Unfortunately there hasn't been an equivalent to the 2009 Appendix 4 published yet. I agree that this might be possible since you can claim credit for tenant spaces in the base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, and materials and products installed in the project (e.g., flooring, casework, wall coverings). via tenant requirements in 2009, but that's primarily for performance based credits. The TR ID credit opportunities were for construction based activities, not tenant design related issues. I wouldn't count on acoustics being an option. Definitely worth some direct follow-up with GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). before you get too farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). down this road.

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Julien Richard Artelia Jan 19 2016 Guest 117 Thumbs Up

For future LEEDusers who might be interested in the response, the GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). replied to me that it is acceptable :
"If the project team is able to fulfill the requirements, it is required to clearly identify which components of the credit will be implemented as part of the developer’s scope of work, and which portions will be part of the tenants’ scope of work and enforced through binding tenant lease or sales agreements. The technical credit requirements incorporated into a legally binding document must be signed by both the developer and the tenant. The document must explicitly state performance requirements for the tenant work."

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Wioletta Simlat
Mar 04 2015
Guest
9 Thumbs Up

Alternative Compliance Path to achieve Acoustic Credit

Project Location: Germany

Do you know if there is alternative path to achieve EQ Credit 9 outside the US? I'm working with a Project in Germany and we have a probem with Sound Transmission. German Standards does not use STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) Rating, all Values of Sound Isolation are in dB. Is there any way to convert those dB Values into STC? I know that most of the German Standards are more strict than US Standards, that's why I believe we would be able to achieve this Credit, just I don't know hot to prove it to USGBC. I will be very grateful for any helpful answer!

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Mar 05 2015 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

IEQc9 does allow for an alternative compliance path based on local standards. You just have to show that the local standard you choose to use is equivalent to the ANSI S12.60-2002 standard.

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Tim Habraken
Feb 04 2015
Guest
142 Thumbs Up

Sound Transmission - achievable?

For a project, we are dealing with the following situtation: we have small meeting rooms, situated (as "boxes") in an open-office plan. If we look at sound transmission, this is a situation which isn't listed in the v4 credit, we are assuming that we should compare it with a conference room - conference room situation. That would mean an STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) of 50.

However, considering practical uses, this level seems to be (unrealistically) high, especially considering the doors in the wall partition. STC 50 with a (closed) wall can be achieved, but even high STC doors won't achieve an STC of more than 45, as farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). as I am aware of. Furthermore, it goes way beyond (realistic) usability of these spaces.

Would this, however, mean that the credit is definitely not achievable? Or am I mistaken in my interpretation?

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Daniel Hicks Daniel Hicks, E.I., INCE, Geiler & Associates Feb 04 2015 LEEDuser Expert 2511 Thumbs Up

The credit asks for a Composite STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) rating. This essentially means the Transmission Loss of the Wall in addition to the Transmission Loss of the door, averaged based on their respective areas. (please forgive me if you already knew this.)

So you won't need an STC 50 rated door assembly but it will still be hard to achieve an STC 50 composite rating unless you have a large wall area with a high STC rating and a small, standard STC 35-40, door.

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Mark Zoeteman Sr. Mech Engr FTC&H, Inc.
Aug 28 2014
LEEDuser Member
144 Thumbs Up

Sound Transmission

Sound transmission requirements for adjacency combinations are listed in Reference Manual Table 1. Is sound transmission compliancy achieved by addressing all project applicable adjacency combinations listed in Table 1? For example, a maximum composite sound transmission class rating is not provided in Table 1 at conference room and standard/executive office adjacency.

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Larissa Oaks Specialist, LEED , USGBC Apr 15 2016 LEEDuser Expert 1491 Thumbs Up

Hi Mark, all occupied spacesEnclosed space intended for human activities, excluding those spaces that are intended primarily for other purposes, such as storage rooms and equipment rooms, and that are only occupied occasionally and for short periods of time. Occupied spaces are further classified as regularly occupied or nonregularly occupied spaces based on the duration of the occupancy, individual or multioccupant based on the quantity of occupants, and densely or nondensely occupied spaces based on the concentration of occupants in the space. listed in Table 1 should be addressed. If the adjacency combination present in the project is not included in the table, select the most appropriate combination or propose an alternative composite STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002) rating for that combination.

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Feb 25 2017
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