Posts Tagged ‘green’

New York Noise

After over two years of work, we are glad to say that the final report for our project Wind Turbine-Related Noise in Western New York has been published.  Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and co-produced with EPRI and Colden Corporation, the study presents a detailed and long-term look at noise levels and resident satisfaction near a modern, utility-scale wind power facility in Wyoming County, NY.

Wind Turbines

The findings of the study fill a gap in the available wind turbine noise research specific to New York State, and include a separate Syracuse University policy paper with specific and actionable advice for a non-technical public policy audience.  Both the Final Report (13-03) and the Policy Paper (13-03b) can be found at the NYSERDA R&D site, and we plan to present the project at the Wind Turbine Noise 2013 conference this August in Denver, Colorado.

Tour 7 WTC during Archtober

ArchtoberOctober is Archtober!  It’s time for New York City’s architecture and design month, a festival of architecture taking place throughout October and brought to you by the AIA New York Chapter, openhousenewyork, and the Architecture & Design Film Festival.

Archtober’s “Building of the Day” for Monday, October 3rd is 7 WTC, the gateway to the new World Trade Center area and NYC’s first certified “green” office building.  On October 3rd at 1:30 p.m., join developer Silverstein Properties and openhousenewyork for a guided tour of the building.

Featured on the tour will be the newly opened WTC Marketing Center on the 10th floor, which includes large-scale models, galleries, and interactive videos about the entire WTC project and neighborhood.  As the acoustical consultant on the WTC Marketing Center design team (which included architects TPG Architecture and engineers AKF Group), we are excited that the public will have the chance to see (and hear) this brand new perspective on the future of the World Trade Center!

compostable quiet

Maybe you heard about this maybe you didn’t…or maybe you heard someone next to you eating SunChips out of the old compostable but VERY NOISY bag last summer. Well, Frito Lay just recently reduced the noise that the compostable bags make.  They found that by using a more rubbery adhesive to put the bag together, the noise level dropped from around 80 to 85 decibels to around 70 decibels.  Subjectively, a 10 decibel drop is about half as loud.  So maybe now you can sneak a snack at midnight without waking up your neighbors and then bury the evidence in your compost pile.  Happy Earth Day!

AP Article

meet elvin…he’s an electric vehicle with interactive noise

(Although we haven’t checked under his hood, we think elvin is a boy)

At one time or another, you have probably been crossing the street or walking through a parking lot and out of nowhere comes a car.  What’s different is that it didn’t come roaring at you but rather it snuck up on you, sidled right on up next to you without you noticing.  Then you realize it’s a hybrid or maybe even a fully electric Mini E or a Tesla (not likely but possible).  This is where elvin comes in…

Engineers at the University of Warwick created elvin to experiment with sounds for electric vehicles.  On the one hand, since hybrid/electric cars are quiet at low speeds, as they become more popular there could be a significant reduction in environmental traffic noise levels.  On the other hand, sound from vehicles can alert pedestrians or cyclists of oncoming traffic.  Also, the sound a particular car makes or doesn’t make also adds to the branding and buyer’s perception of a vehicle.

elvin would like your opinion on how he sounds and has an online interactive evaluation.  Check him out.

elvin electric vehicle with interactive noise

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Wall???

Chia HeadProbably at one time or another you had a Chia Pet or at least knew someone who did.  How about the Chia Car?  Well, the Ohio Department of Transportation has come up with an environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing sound barrier, the Chia Wall if you will.  The naturally “green” noise barrier will separate a residential neighborhood from a noisy next-door interstate and will be constructed of bags of soil and seeds – just add water.

Clean, green, noise machines

Those big, graceful wind turbine power plants dotting the countryside may be a great source of clean power, but they can also represent a source of noise and annoyance to their immediate neighbors.  In a quiet rural area, the whoosh-whoosh noise of a large turbine (some exceeding 300 feet from ground to wingtip) can be audible thousands of feet away.  Several recent epidemiological studies have shown that annoyance from wind turbine noise is greater than that from other environmental sources (such as highways) at an equal noise level.  This discrepancy is likely influenced by unrelated factors (e.g. blocked views), but the continuing push for green energy requires an equal effort to research wind turbine noise and its impact on the health of people nearby.

We recently published the results of a detailed wind turbine noise study in the peer-reviewed acoustics journal Acta Acustica, in conjunction with our colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. We approached the disparity in annoyance by starting at the source: investigating the accuracy of methods for predicting the noise from a wind turbine in the first place.  Such methods are the basis for designing and regulating wind turbine sites, but necessarily simplify complex factors such as wind and temperature influence on sound.

After an extensive campaign of hundreds of field measurements (in the beautiful Skåne countryside) and days of computer simulation, we found that at a relatively short receiver distance, wind and similar factors were not significantly affecting the sound transmission path—the turbines are simply too tall for wind to influence levels nearby on the ground.  Instead, wind and temperature fluctuation influence the amount of noise generated at the turbine itself, and may do so in ways that aren’t always accounted for in current prediction methods.  As always, further research is needed!

Wind turbine

Wind turbine noise measurement in Skåne, southern Sweden