Located in Statesboro, Ga., the Botanic Garden contains over eleven acres of distinctive gardens on the former farm and homestead of Dan and Catharine Bland. The grounds include trails, paths and courtyards as well as native and heritage plants of the southeastern coastal plains including over 20 of the state’s protected species. Structures for visitation include a complex of early 20th century farm buildings and the Rural Life Museum.
The garden is also a research and educational resource for faculty and students and provides undergraduate and graduate programs, projects, and internships as well as continuing education programs for the community.
Sound Abatement Project Challenge
The neighborhood around the garden has seen an increase in residential homes and with that an increase in noise. Road traffic on the four-lane state road just outside the gates also continued to increase over the years. This background noise began to disturb visitors who came to the location to enjoy peace and serenity. The organization’s Lunch and Learn programs were particularly affected by the disturbance (honking horns, revving engines, emergency vehicles and loud traffic).
Sound pressure is measured in decibels. A normal conversation is at around 60 decibels and not loud enough to be annoying or harmful. Once a sound reaches 85 decibels or higher (lawnmower, pump, motorcycle, emergency vehicles, leaf blower) it can cause permanent damage to a person’s hearing with prolonged exposure.
Even sustained exposure to daytime road noise, spending too much time on a noisy freeway or living close to high traffic areas according to current research is harmful to your health. Long term exposure to even moderate road noise can cause an increase in blood pressure, elevated cortisol levels and an increased risk of death from ischemic heart disease in the elderly. Overall, this type of prolonged exposure may shorten your life.
Animal and plant life may also be affected by the clamor. Excessive noise can disturb and alter the behavior of birds (locating mates, finding food, finding each other, and dodging or avoiding predators) as well as changes in frogs, bats and other animal’s behavior. These changes can have flow-on effects for entire ecosystems (for instance, plants that depend on birds or insects to spread their pollen and/or seeds) may be disrupted.
The Botanic Garden wanted to keep with the beauty and tranquility of the park atmosphere so the crew came up with an alternative to attaching the material to a chain link fence. They attached the Acoustifence material to a wooden fence and covered the material with wire mesh; no special tools were needed. The Acoustifence was attached in long runs, interrupted periodically by a gate (also treated with Acoustifence) or a building. The height of the fence is 7.5-feet and runs the entire perimeter of the eleven acre garden.
Since the installation of the fence, Carolyn Altman, the director of the Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern University says, “We are pleased with the results. Both staff and visitors have commented on how much quieter and more tranquil it is. The fence is durable as well. About two weeks after we installed the fence Hurricane Matthew came through and we had no damage! This year the fence was unaffected by the high winds of Hurricane Irma.”
Not surprisingly, numerous studies indicate spending time in a natural setting such as the Botanic Garden actually contributes to one’s overall well-being by lowering blood pressure, stress levels and the risk of depression.
Acoustifence Dissipates Road Noise
Made and sourced in the U.S., Acoustifence is 100 percent recyclable. It has a characteristic that sets it apart from other non-structural sound barriers when dealing with low frequencies such as vehicular or train noise. In frequencies of 50 Hz and below, the heavy limp Acoustifence material actually begins to vibrate from low frequency sound waves. In essence it is transforming these low frequency sound waves into mechanical movement and internal friction energy. Laboratory tests indicate that this transformation process reduces these low frequencies from penetrating Acoustifence by over 60 percent relative to the human ear. In these low frequencies test results show an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) as high as 0.78 (1.00 being the max).
Lahnie Johnson, president and founder of Acoustiblok says, “We are pleased the installation of Acoustifence brought back peace and tranquility to the Botanic Garden. Noise pollution, particularly road noise, is a problem globally and Acoustifence meets the criteria businesses are looking for.”