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How do audio and visual characteristics of wind turbines contribute to noise annoyance? 

Author:  | Noise

Wind farms often evoke strong annoyance reactions in residents. Literature suggests that both acoustical characteristics and the visibility of wind turbines may contribute to noise annoyance. However, studies on the mutual audio-visual effects on annoyance are still rare. The objective of this study was to investigate the short-term noise annoyance reactions to different wind turbine noise situations in a controlled laboratory experiment. A set of 24 audio-visual rural scenarios containing a single wind turbine was synthesized, i.e., visualized and auralized. Combined with the full factorial experimental design, this allowed separating the individual contributions of the following variables to noise annoyance: distance to the wind turbine, periodic amplitude modulation of the sound (with, without) and visual setting (landscape with or without wind turbine; grey background). The experiment revealed that both visual and acoustical characteristics strongly affect noise annoyance. Annoyance increased with periodic amplitude modulation and/or decreased when a landscape was visible. For the latter case, the visibility of a wind turbine increased annoyance. While the acoustical effects could be reliably assessed, the visual effects were less straightforward to reveal, as they are afflicted with carryover effects. The presentation order of audio-visual stimuli was therefore found to be crucial for study outcomes.

Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
ETH Zurich, Institute for Spatial and Landscape Development, Switzerland

Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress on Acoustics, 9–13 September 2019, Aachen, Germany: pages 1437–1440.

Download original document: “How do audio and visual characteristics of wind turbines contribute to noise annoyance?

Originally published: Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 186, June 2019, Pages 67-78 [download]. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.01.014

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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