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Wind Turbine Noise | Residential Vs. Commercial

by Acoustics By Design on December 9, 2009

Wind turbine noise consultant wind turbine noise studyWho Can See the Wind?
(by Christina Georgina Rossetti)
Who can see the wind? Neither you nor I
But when the leaves are trembling
The wind is passing by!
Who can see the wind? Neither I nor you
But when the trees are bending low
The wind is passing through!

As this children’s poem points out, the wind’s affect on the surrounding environment is a beautiful thing. But if you live near one of the many “wind farms” popping up all over the country, you may disagree. If that’s you, then “seeing the wind” means 400 foot tall wind turbines interrupting your landscape, and “hearing the wind” may mean loud “whirring” and “whoosh” sounds keeping you awake at night.

Wind power harvesting has many unintended consequences. Migratory bird patterns seem to be affected. Bats are routinely killed by the giant windmills in the sky. Many argue that the large obelisks visually disturb the landscape. Great distances from wind farms to population centers result in large transmission lines traveling great distances and costing even more. But believe it or not, the loudest group of nay-sayers is not the environmentalists or the economists; it’s the local residents who have to live near these wind farms, experiencing the sights and sounds firsthand.

Acoustically, large wind farms can cause low frequency noise issues due to the very large, and relatively slow turning, blades. This “whirring” sound is known to travel great distances and can be compared to the sound of a helicopter just starting up. Although the helicopter flies away; the wind farm is here to stay.

In contrast to the large wind turbines dotting the horizon, there are a variety of small, residential wind turbines being marketed today, including one by Cascade Engineering out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, called the Swift. These turbines generally produce very low noise levels because of their design and overall size. Although they will probably never produce all of the electricity that a single family residence requires, they do solve many of the problems that plague the multi-acre wind farms. They are compact, efficient, and cost effective.

If you are considering a wind turbine for your house or in your community, please consider the expert services of an acoustical consultant. Doing so can minimize the unintended consequences and can help ensure that seeing (and hearing) the wind remains a thing of beauty.

Acoustics By Design

Acoustics By Design

Acoustics By Design consultants provide acoustical consulting services to architects, engineers, facility directors, municipalities, and building owners. Our team includes acoustical consultants, acoustical engineers, noise consultants, and vibration consultants. Our firm also includes an integrated team of audio-visual consultants who design audio, video, theatrical lighting, and technical systems and integrate them with the native acoustical environment.

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petersteel December 9, 2009 at 11:32 pm

that was nice to read about the wind turbines .. that was wonder… great job ..

Roger Roster December 10, 2009 at 7:01 am

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing energy sector in the world. It has the capacity to generate electricity to millions of homes and businesses. The United States leads the world in terms of wind power. Companies like Pacific Crest Transformers specialize in the manufacture of liquid-filled distribution transformers. They offer energy-efficient transformers for the wind energy sector. Visit http://www.pacificcresttrans.com/home.html for more on transformers and the wind energy sector.

Phyllis Phallen December 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

The poem cited:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Author is Christina Georgina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

wind turbine May 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

that’s really a fantastic post ! added to my favourite blogs list.. I have been reading your blog last couple of weeks and enjoy every bit. Thanks.

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