Politécnica de Madrid

New greener and more efficient noise barriers

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have developed a new vegetal and affordable noise barrier that significantly reduces both noise and the environmental and landscape impact.

Noise barriers make difficult the transmission of traffic noise and constitute a relevant factor in urban action plans. However, their effectiveness varies according to multiple factors. The new green noise barrier developed by two researchers from the School of Building at UPM use the raw material resulting from the pruning of plants and gardens. The combination of this vegetable waste with a local substrate and water result in a new mixture of suitable acoustic and structural characteristic for these types of barriers.

New vegetal noise barriers installed by a highway of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain). Credit: UPM

Today, the commercial noise barriers are made of different materials such as concrete, brick, wood, and glass that consume material resource in the manufacturing process and generate a large amount of waste at the end of their useful life and have a high visual impact.

In this way, researchers have developed barriers made of recycled elements that reduce the use of materials and reuse carpet waste, scraps of paper and fibrous materials. In this study, the raw materials used by UPM researchers come from garden waste, particularly, palm leaves. Using local materials provide savings for both transport and environmental impact, giving a great solution to the excessive amount of waste.

Prototype of the new vegetal noise barrier

In order to adapt these leaves waste to the construction of noise reduction devices, researchers mixed substrate with water to produce a mixture of suitable acoustic and structural characteristics. Besides, vegetal species can be added to the front face of the barrier to improve both visual and aesthetic impact.

Vegetable wastes have good acoustic attenuation properties that when mixing with substrates they improve their mechanical properties. Therefore, these vegetal barriers are a great solution from the acoustic, mechanical, ecological, sustainable and landscaping perspective.


This green barrier has been patented by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (P201631412).