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16 Oct 2023 Blog

Guide to Reducing Office Noise with Plants

Are you tired of the constant noise in your office space? Plants can be your silent allies in the battle against office noise pollution.

Here’s a short guide on how to use plants effectively to absorb and disrupt soundwaves, creating a quieter and more productive work environment.

  1. Choose the Right Plants
  • Opt for a variety of plants with different shapes, sizes, and textures. Irregular foliage scatters soundwaves effectively.
  1. Understand How Plants Reduce Noise
  • Plants reduce noise through absorption, diffraction, and reflection.
  • Absorption: In acoustically lively spaces with hard surfaces (e.g., marble walls, exposed concrete floors), plants help by reducing reverberation time.
  • Diffraction and Reflection: At lower frequencies, plants diffract and reflect sound because their leaf size is smaller compared to noise wavelengths.
  • Plants with many small leaves scatter and diffuse sound, while at higher frequencies, leaves may reflect sound towards other surfaces for absorption.
  1. Consider Green Walls and Moss Walls
  • Green walls consist of dense foliage and are often mounted on sound-absorbing panels.
  • Moss walls deflect sound due to their shape and absorb sound with their soft texture.
  • Moss walls have mounting materials which also contribute to noise absorption
  • Moss walls are less expensive and are often very large, therefore filling a much larger area of otherwise hard wall which would normally have high reverberation (echo).
  • Moss walls can also be artistically placed across the office in frames, covering the areas where deflection is needed, making them a customised acoustic absorption option.
  • Both offer sound absorption in offices where floor space is limited, and moss walls are an excellent choice where a living wall is not practical.
  1. Analyse Noise Sources and Hotspots
  • Understand that noise levels can vary throughout a space due to multiple sources and reflections.
  • Determine the sources of noise and pinpoint where it is loudest, as these may not always be the same location.
  • Use a noise meter or smartphone apps to measure noise levels during typical working hours and create a noise map of your office space.
  1. Strategically Place Plants
  • Use your noise map to identify areas where vegetation will have the greatest impact on reducing noise.
  • Identify areas where noise reflections are problematic and place plants strategically to make a difference.
  • Green walls and moss walls are particularly effective due to their dense foliage and sound-absorbing materials.
  1. Enjoy the Additional Benefits
  • Don’t forget that plants in your office offer more than just noise reduction. They also enhance well-being and workplace effectiveness, contributing to biophilic design.

By following these tips, you can transform your noisy office into a peaceful and productive space using the power of plants. Reduce noise, enhance comfort, and improve your overall work environment with this cost-effective and natural solution.

Information sourced from research carried out in the mid-1990s by Dr Peter Costa at Southbank University in London.

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