Plant walls for acoustic absorption in buildings

2015/01/08 Carton Virto, Eider - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

According to a study by the UPV, EHU, the walls formed by plants have a great capacity of acoustic absorption and can be used as sound insulators.
Reverb room for acoustic absorption test. Ed. UPV/EHU

The green walls are made up of plant modules: the plants are introduced into polyethylene boxes and maintained by organic irrigation, that is, by a system similar to the hydroponic systems used in greenhouses. The University School of Technical Engineering of Mines and Public Works of the UPV/EHU has conducted a study on the usefulness of this type of walls to protect themselves from sound.

The study studied acoustic absorption and sound insulation of green walls, meeting the requirements established by ISO standards. On the one hand, in tests conducted in a reverberation room, it has been observed that green walls have a very good performance to reduce noise, both at low and high frequencies (unlike other commonly used materials in buildings, which only have a good performance at high or low frequencies). On the other hand, the inclusion of plant modules in a laboratory wall has shown that they can be suitable sound insulators.

For its effectiveness, today, researchers see this type of wall as only an opportunity for singular buildings. In fact, the growth and maintenance of plants in a position to be used as walls is a complicated and expensive task at the moment. The results of the study have been published in the journal Applied Acoustics.