Few things look as charming as sprawling walls of greenery on buildings. Vertical gardens don’t just perform on an aesthetic level – they also help in improving the quality of life in urban environments. Apart from making urban areas more beautiful, vertical gardens help in energy savings, stormwater control, biodiversity support, and more. But a lesser known aspect of these gardens is the role they play in noise attenuation. The design, plants grown, and more aspects of vertical gardens all play a crucial role in affecting sound insulation properties of a building.
Why vertical gardens for sound barriers for buildings?
Vertical gardens have proven to be effective as sound barriers and could help in creating a quieter, acoustically controlled environment. According to Dunnet and Kingsbury, the hard surfaces of urban areas tend to reflect sound rather than absorb it, but green walls are capable of absorbing sound, with the help of both substrate and plants. In this case, the substrate tends to block lower sound frequencies whereas the plants are known to block higher sound frequencies. This can change in module-based green walls where the substrate is inserted into a plastic or metal box or module. It should be noted that the noise reduction coefficient increases with increasing frequencies and with larger green coverage.
Reflecting and Absorbing Noise through Plant Leaves
Leaves help in reflecting and absorbing sound energy, according to studies. The amount absorbed isn’t significantly large, but it is enough to make a noticeable difference. As mentioned earlier, in such cases, more the greenery involved, the greater the sound absorption effect. In the case of indoor gardens, noise created inside the office as well can be reduced. From conversations to printers, telephones to fax machines, shredders, and other office equipment to other noises, vertical gardens help in reducing the noise around and creating a more comforting and conducive work environment.
According to a study, it was found that introducing green walls in a reverberation chamber considerably decreased reverberation time.
Reducing Urban Noise
If your office is in a commercial hub, then there are chances that your space gets a lot of outdoor noise in the form of traffic, construction work, vehicle horns, and more. Vertical gardens indoors and outdoors can help in deterring noise to some extent and make sure that it is not distracting.
Various studies under different circumstances have found greenery on buildings to reduce noise levels to a certain extent – there is no denying the fact that greenery can absorb sound and can be used as sound barrier for buildings.