Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Green walls, effective acoustic insulation

05.01.2015

Zaloa Azkorra, an agricultural engineer of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, is conducting research at the University School of Mining and Public Works Engineering into the benefits provided by green walls. 

The researcher has concluded that walls comprising plants offer great potential for absorbing noise and could be used as acoustic insulation. Right now, she is conducting thermal studies on them. The researcher believes they could be beneficial in the future to offer a greener image of towns and cities, to improve the life quality of citizens, to save energy, to increase biodiversity, to control rainwater, to lessen town/city noise and to minimize waste and pollution.


Sala reverberacion web

The Department of Thermal Machines and Motors of the University School of Mining and Public Works Engineering is exploring the energy efficiency of buildings by conducting tests on various materials. Zaloa Azkorra, an agricultural engineer, began to study the acoustic and energy efficiency of green walls to find out their performance, since these walls consisting of vegetation could be beneficial in improving the life quality of citizens. 

Green walls are made up of plant modules: the plants are inserted into polyurethane boxes and are maintained by means of organic irrigation, in other words, they are fed and watered by means of a system similar to the hydroponic one used in greenhouses. It is not easy to grow plants this way or to insert them into a wall.

Noise absorption and insulation have been analysed while meeting the conditions established in ISO standards. The noise absorption test was carried out in a reverberation chamber (a chamber the walls of which are fitted with materials that reflect noise of the same type in all directions), using a range of frequencies. Green walls have thus been found to perform very well in high as well as low frequencies with respect to noise reduction (whereas other materials used in buildings only perform well at either high or low frequencies).

The way green walls may behave as acoustic insulation was also studied: plant modules were fitted onto a laboratory wall and the level of noise insulation was measured. The conclusion reached was that with some slight improvements (like increasing the mass of the modules or covering the space between them) the system can be made more effective and, as a result, the green walls could be suitable for acoustic insulation.

Efficient, but costly

The researcher is proposing that green walls be used in buildings, inside and outside, as they can improve the temperature and, what is more, they can achieve acoustic improvements. What is more, "they are attractive and cool," said Azkorra. But she also admitted at the same time that having such systems is costly and that, what is more, the systems need to be improved. As Azkorra pointed out, "apart from having plants on the walls, they have to be maintained and that is quite expensive". So right now she sees no alternative but to fit them in special buildings.

Now that the plant modules have been cultivated, she has begun to carry out thermal studies on them to study what benefits they can bring from the temperature perspective.

Z. Azkorra, G. Pérez, J. Coma, L. F. Cabeza, S. Bures, J. E. Álvaro, A. Erkoreka, M. Urrestarazu. "Evaluation of green walls as a passive acoustic insulation system for buildings". Applied Acoustics. Volume 89, March 2015, pp. 46-56.

Zaloa Azkorra (Bilbao, 1978) is an agricultural engineer. She lectures in the Department of Thermal Machines and Motors of the University School of Mining and Public Works Engineering of the UPV/EHU. She wrote up her thesis under the supervision of Aitor Erkoreka. She conducted the tests at the Quality Control Laboratory in the TECNALIA Building in the Department of Acoustics. She also had the help of Dr Miguel Urrestarazu of the University of Almeria to obtain the modules and the plants for carrying out the tests.

Matxalen Sotillo | AlphaGalileo

Further reports about: Green acoustic beneficial energy efficiency frequencies life quality materials walls

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Smart buildings through innovative membrane roofs and façades
31.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Concrete from wood
05.07.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>