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Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics

Volume 14, 2011 http://acousticalsociety.org/








162nd Meeting
Acoustical Society of America
San Diego, California
31 October - 4 November 2011
Session 1aAA: Architectural Acoustics
1aAA1. Sound absorption of different green roof systems
Ilaria Pittaluga, Corrado Schenone* and Davide Borelli
*Corresponding authors address: DIPTEM, University of Genova, Via allOpera Pia 15/A, Genova, 16145, GE,
Italy, corrado.schenone@unige.it
Experimental data on acoustical performances, in particular on sound absorption of several green roof systems were
evaluated and discussed. Measurements were performed on samples of three green roof systems, different for mainte-
nance, plant setting and containment criteria, and categorized in extensive green roof (Sample A), semi-intensive green
roof (Sample B) and common soil (Sample C). Experimental values of normal incidence acoustic absorption coefficient
and acoustic impedance were evaluated for each sample in one-third octave frequency bands from 160 to 1600 Hz by
using a standing wave tube. Then, diffusive sound absorption coefficients and normal and diffusive weighted sound
absorption coefficients were calculated in the same frequency range. Results show that green roofs provide high sound
absorption, mostly if compared with the typical performances of traditional flat roofs. Curves of sound absorption coeffi-
cients result strongly dependent on the stratigraphy. Comparison between the different systems performed on the base of
weighted sound absorption coefficients shows a better behaviour for the Sample B. Results obtained suggest that green
roof technology, in addition to energy and environmental benefits, can contribute to noise control in urban areas by means
of high sound absorption performances in relation to the size of the surface area.
Published by the Acoustical Society of America through the American Institute of Physics
Pittaluga et al.
2012 Acoustical Society of America [DOI: 10.1121/1.3685875]
Received 23 Jan 2012; published 1 Feb 2012
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 1
1. Introduction
Green roofs are peculiar roof structures that can be used in several types of buildings. Greening
covers have been existing since ancient times up to several major works of contemporary
architecture, but have only recently become the subject of research and quantitative analysis.
These systems provide high performance both in terms of environment and energy, so green
roofs are increasingly being used for the implementation in horizontal or inclined roofs [1, 2].
Green roofs are generally associated only with aesthetic needings. However, this kinds of
coverage are designed with different objectives, such as energy insulation increase, noise
abatement and stormwater run off management [3], reduction of small particles and
electromagnetic waves protection.
The green roof technology also provides high acoustic performance thanks to its
characteristic layers and properties of the materials they are made of. Because of their particular
sound absorption characteristics, green roofs can contribute to the mitigation of environmental
noise and to the noise pollution control and reduction in urban areas.
If among the advantages of this technology there are also those of acoustic nature, their
quantification is currently very limited. It is therefore useful to provide experimental studies that
may fill this gap. To this aim, in this paper sound absorption properties of different green roof
systems were experimentally evaluated and benefits can be obtained from their use were
analyzed.
2. Green roof systems
Green roofs can be classified according to several criteria, such as maintenance activities
(primary issue), energy intake (nutrient and water), containment arrangements of the natural
element, medium layer thickness and vegetation layer distribution and extent (type and
percentage of covered area). For instance, the italian Standard UNI 11235:2007 categorizes
green roofs in intensive and extensive depending on:
building shape and roof geometric complexity, particularly significant in architectural
recovery and restoration;
slope and the typology of coverage;
static characteristics and load resistance of the roof;
height of the building;
maintenance activities necessary to ensure the natural growth of the species of vegetation;
climate (the temperature range for survival and growth of the plant must be evaluated);
need in water runoff control;
availability of light and direct radiation;
fruition of the roof;
aesthetic effect desired.
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 2
Saturation surface
mass
80-150 kg/m
2
Average thickness 100-150 mm
Water
accumulation
40-60 l/m
2
Feeding
Mainly due to natural rainfall.
In the Mediterranean climate an
automatic or semiautomatic
irrigation system is necessary
Maintenance Low maintenance system
Figure 1. Extensive green roof specifications and layers
I
It is important to underline the difference between "roof garden" and "green roof", a
distinction which is born from the different function of the presence of vegetation cover. In a
roof garden vegetation does not generally have direct contact with the ground but is contained in
vases that create a separation between the green and its soil and the floor. This excludes,
therefore, any technological and retaining but only the aesthetic and ornamental values. In
contrast, a green roof provides a technology which allows the building to ensure the
characteristic energy benefits.
In the following sections the characteristics of different types of green roofs ( extensive, semi-
intensive and intensive systems) are briefly described.
2.1 Extensive green roof systems
Extensive green roofs can be considered an alternative to traditional roof coverings because of
their lasting and maximum functionality in addition to minimum maintenance.
This system can be employed both in flat and sloped roofs and can be established in a very
thin soil layer (about 100 mm) with a load capacity of about 60 kg/m
2
. The main specifications
of extensive green roof system and the layer stratigraphy are shown in Figure 1.
Special panels with no additional cost permit accumulation of water draining into the
substrate, which may brings many benefits during drought period.
An extensive system allows to obtain a low cost green roof by using less demanding and low
growing plants with no special irrigation or nutritional requirements. Typically, this type of roof
need a very low maintenance.
2.2 Semi-intensive green roof system
Semi-intensive green roofs fall in between extensive and intensive green roof systems because
of two requirements: a wider variety of vegetation demand than extensive roofing systems that
need greater thickness of substrate layers and load limitation on structural elements. In this
system limited but scheduled maintenance and irrigation are required. Semi-intensive green roofs
can support grasses, shrubs and small bushes, can be accessible and bear external furniture and
flooring, according to structure load design.

I
harpo-group.com
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 3
Saturation surface
mass
120-180 kg/m
2
Average thickness 130-200 mm
Water
accumulation
50-80 l/m
2
Feeding
Specific for drip or rain
subsurface irrigation
equipments are required
Maintenance Medium maintenance system
Figure 2. Semi-intensive green roof specifications and layers
I
Comparing to the extensive green roof arrangement, performance characteristics are improved,
so semi-intensive systems can be considered optimal where limited layers thickness and weight
and an exploitation of the garden are required. Good results in the implementation of large
spaces, public areas and parks can be achieved. The main specifications and the layer
stratigraphy of semi-intensive green roof system are shown in Figure 2.
2.3 Intensive green roof system
Intensive green roofs are more elaborately designed than extensive and semi intensive green
roofs. In this case soil layer thickness is deeper: typical soil depth has a total thickness around
200 mm to allow a large selection of vegetation species, including shrubs, hardy perennials and
even small trees. Due to the high depth of the whole structure (it can reach a
150 kg/m
2
weight), load requirements on structures must be considered. Intensive green roofs
generally need special designed building organizations and can not be used for slopes roof.
Walkways, terraces, water fountains and ponds, lightning playgrounds and benches can be
established with no limitations in planning and design, in order to create a fully landscaped
garden. In addition, regular and frequent maintenance that results higher than other systems must
be ensured and different irrigation requirements and automatic feeding system have to be
considered. The main specifications of intensive green roof system and the layer stratigraphy are
shown in Figure 3.
Saturation surface
mass
180-380 kg/m
2
Average thickness 200-400 mm
Water
accumulation
80-150 l/m
2
Feeding
Specific for drip or rain
subsurface irrigation
equipments are required
Maintenance High maintenance system
Figure 3. Intensive green roof specifications and layers
I
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 4
3. Acoustical performance of green roofs
The acoustical performance of green roofs involves two different aspects: the outdoor noise
absorption and the insulation of indoor environments from outside noise. About this last issue,
generally, the quality of the green coverage, with the consequent increase of roof mass and the
presence of granular media and felt layers, makes the sound insulation of green roof systems
highly relevant. If elements of discontinuity such as skylights, intake or expulsion screen are not
present, acoustic insulation of green roofs results highly above standard limits provided for
building perimeters, transferring the sound defending problem to vertical structures, particularly
on glass components.
This aspect was recently investigated by Connelly and Hodgson [4], who studied the analysis
of noise reduction in buildings due to the presence of green roofs. This effect has particular
relevance for buildings near airports, where noise sources are above the building. The study
compare a 33 m
2
traditional coverage with an extensive green roof with same area. Results show
that the presence of a vegetated rooftop guarantees an increase in sound insulation from 5 to
13 dB within the range of low and medium frequencies between 50 Hz and 2000 Hz, and from
2 to 8 dB in the range of higher frequencies.
In this paper sound absorption characteristics of green roofs are analyzed. Referring to sound
absorption, smooth and rigid surfaces of traditional rooftop reflect noise produced by several
sources, such as road, rail or air traffic or industrial noise, and contribute to environmental noise
reverberation which increases sound levels. A green roof structure presents non-homogeneous
surfaces and consists of a complex stratigraphy generally made of granular materials, drainage
layers, protective felt and vegetation, with high sound absorption characteristics.
There are several situations in which noise reduction due to green roofs sound absorption may
be important, such as buildings near to roads, rail or air traffic noise sources. An example can be
shown by the city of Offenbach, in Germany [5, 6]. The realization by the municipal
administration of a residential settlement near Frankfurt airport, next to the path of passing
aircraft, has sparked protests from population and environmental protection groups. To reduce the
high noise levels, the Municipality did make green roofs on buildings in the surroundings of the
international airport, obtaining noise attenuation in the buildings.
A study by Van Renterghem and Botteldooren [7] on numerical evaluation of sound
propagation due to the presence of green roofs, demonstrates the contribution of green roofs in
urban noise abatement, with particular reference to a street canyon configuration. A
proportionality between the extent of green cover and the reduction of the sound pressure level on
the unexposed building facade, regardless the nature of the source, has been demonstrated.
Considering extensive green roofs, a pronounced attenuation varying stratigraphy thickness
compared to an traditional acoustically rigid coverage configuration, has been shown. A
maximum reduction of 10 dB for the octave band 1000 Hz has been calculated. The best global
efficiency configuration was found to be the one with total thickness of 150-200 mm.
A following study by the same authors [8] considered the green roofs reduction of noise levels
from road traffic. The influence of green roof on the acoustic pressure generated by road traffic
on short distance has been numerically analyzed. Significant positive effects on faades not
directly exposed to the road were found in the case of significant extent of the green surface.
Increasing traffic speed, noise reduction effects grow in the case of light vehicles; in case of
heavy vehicles reduction effect is less strong. According to this studies, in case of a canyon road
configuration, sound pressure on the unexposed faade is largely influenced both by the
inclination of the roof and by the green roof presence.
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 5
A recent study by Van Renterghem and Botteldooren [9] analyzed in-situ measurements of
sound propagation over flat extensive green roofs, considering several situations with a single or
double diffraction. Results showed that vegetated roofs may lead to significant noise reduction in
comparison with non-greened flat roofs, when only diffracted sound waves reflect.
Acoustical properties on two porous soils used in green roof systems have been studied by K.
V. Horoshenkov [10]. The absorption coefficient spectra of the 100 mm thick tested soil samples
show poor values at lower frequencies with an increasing trend which reach values between 0.6
and 0.8 on frequency bands over 600 Hz.
Even if green roof systems are largely used in the common practice, there is a lack of reliable
experimental data to define in quantitative terms the achievable sound attenuation. This is due to
the different configurations that green roofs can assume, as described above, depending on
thickness, stratigraphy, materials, greening, etc
In literature these aspects are not much considered and the knowledge on sound absorbing
behavior of green roofs is not plain as for the sound transmission characteristics. To reduce this
lack, an experimental stady has been performed in order to analyze the sound absorption
performances of green roofs with different stratigraphies.
4. Experiments
The measurement of acoustic characteristics of green roofs has been performed by means of a
vertical axis standing wave tube [11]. The sound absorption coefficient spectra of the testing
samples has been measured through the Standing Wave Ratio method, together with the specific
surface impedance.
The limit of the standing waves tube is that measurements can be made only for normal
incidence. Direct information on the material behaviour varying the incidence angle are not
given. However, most of the sound-absorbing materials can be considered as locally reactive,
thus with specific surface impedance independent of the angle of incidence. In this case data of
the absorption coefficient for diffuse incidence can be evaluated from normal incidence, as
described in Par. 5.
4.1 Experimental set-up and operative procedure
The measuring device apply Standing Wave Ratio method on the basis of standard specifies
ASTM C 384-04 "Standard Test Method for Impedance and Absorption of Acoustical Materials
by the Impedance Tube Method" [12]. The experimental set-up used for the test is a vertical
standing wave tube with a 0.19 m inner diameter and 2 m total length, made of transparent
PMMA with a special device which allows the insertion of the testing sample, such as incoherent
material. The final part of the tube can be removed and the specimen is built externally and then
inserted at the lower end of the tube.
The sound source consists of a loudspeaker 200 mm in diameter, placed at the top of the tube.
The bottom of the tube is made of a metal disk with a thickness of 40 mm which acts as the rigid
reflection surface. The microphone and its preamplifier are suspended inside the tube
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 6
Figure 4. Experimental set-up: a) picture; b) sketch
through the microphone cable. Acting on the cable the microphone can translate along the entire
length of the tube. The loudspeaker is powered by a sinusoidal signal. The measurement system
also includes a sound level meter analyzer, which allows frequency analysis in octave bands and
third octave band, an oscilloscope and a digital multimeter, used for the analysis of output
voltage.
To apply the Standing Wave Ratio method is necessary that at least a minimum and a
maximum of the pressure magnitude can be measured inside the tube. Therefore, a length of the
tube greater than /2 (where is the wavelength of the lowest frequency which is investigated) is
needed. This condition imposes a lower limit to the frequency of measurement corresponding to
118 Hz because of the minimum useful length of 1.46 m. Frequency upper limit is imposed by
the need to have a plane wave inside the tube. Applying Rayleigh theory [13] the highest
frequency that can be investigated is equal to 1058 Hz because of the diameter equal to 0.19 m.
Experimental validation of the set-up conducted by previous measurement campaigns [14] led to
shift the highest frequency limit slightly above the upper limit described above: tests were
conducted until the third octave band centre frequency of 1600 Hz.
4.2 Test samples
In this paper three different samples were examined:
Extensive green roof system (Sample A)
Semi-intensive green roof system (Sample B)
Common soil (Sample C)
Sample A and Sample B are two configurations of green roofs, distinguished by elements such as
maintenance, planting and containment of the natural element. The sample referred to as
"common soil" (Sample C) was introduced as a reference. It does not constitute a possible green

a) b)
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 7
Table 1: Tested layers
of extensive green roof (Sample A)
1. Protection and
accumulation felt Zinco
SSM 45, in polypropylene
fiber for water
accumulation and
protection with
reinforcement insert. It is
layed on waterproof layer
and antiroots barrier
Thickness: 5 mm
Weight: 470 g/m
2

Water accumulation: 5 l/m
2
2. Drainage and storage
element Floradrain FD
25-E, in recycled
polyethylene
Thickness: 25 mm
Water accumulation: 3 l/m
2
3. Filter layer Zinco TG
geotexile nonwoven in
polyethtlene-polypropylene
hot-hardened, high
mechanical strength
Thickness: 1 mm
4. Growing medium
Zinco mixture (granular
material) with mineral
Zincolit based farction,
with selected, crushed and
rounded brick tiles
Thickness: 120 mm
5. Grass turf.
Ground thickness: 25 mm
Grass height : ca. 45 mm
Table 2: Tested layers
of semi-intensive green roof (Sample B)
1.Protection felt
Thickness: 2 mm
Weight: 300 g/m
2
2.Drainage and storage
element Lapillo
(granular material)
Thickness: 100 mm
3.Filter layer: protection
felt
Thickness: 1 mm
4.Growing medium
Vulcaflor (granular
material)
Thickness: 200 mm
5.Grass turf.
Ground thickness: 25 mm
Grass height : ca. 45 mm
Table 3: Tested layers
of common soil (Sample C)
1.Neutral peat mixture
(peat moss +
Agriperlite)
Thickness: 125 mm
Weight: 300 g/m
2
2.Grass turf.
Ground thickness: 25
mm
Grass height : ca. 45 mm
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 8
roof system, but it works as a benchmark for the other systems.
The description of the different stratigraphy for each analyzed sample is hereafter reported in
detail.
Extensive system (Sample A)
For this sample five layers constituting the system have been placed inside the standing waves
tube; they consisted in a protective layer, a polyethylene drainage element, a filter layer, the
growing medium and a grass turf. Proceeding from the bottom, the 175 mm high stratigraphy
was placed, after careful preparation, as shown in Table 1.
Semi-intensive system (Sample B)
Also in this case the stratigraphy of the green roof system have been set up in the standing
wave tube. From the bottom, the several layers, consisting in a protective layer, a granular
material drainage storage element, a filter layer, the growing medium and a grass turf, were
placed as shown in Table 2. The height of the sample is 330 mm.
Common soil (Sample C).
For the third sample, a layer of common soil and a grass turf, simulating an ordinary ground
stratigraphy, was placed in the standing waves. The overall thickness was 150 mm. The
stratigraphy and its characteristics are shown in Table 3.
These three samples represent a first survey test, which is proposed to be extended in the
prosecution of the research.
5. Results and discussion
In Figure 5 the spectra of the normal incidence sound absorption coefficient
0
as a function of
third octave band frequency for the three tested samples is shown. Sound absorption coefficients
values result significantly depending on the stratigraphy. The spectral distribution of
0
is
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600
f (Hz)
H HH H
0

(

-

)
Sample A
Sample B
Sample C
Figure 5. Comparison of curves for normal incidence sound absorption coefficient
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 9
strongly characterized, with maximum absorption in the 160 Hz frequency band for Sample A
and in 400 Hz frequency band for Sample B. Generally sound absorption values result to be
relevant for both Sample A and B, especially if compared with traditional horizontal roof
performance.
In the extensive system (Sample A),
0
values result higher than 0.6 at lower frequencies below
250 Hz and then maintain 0.4 0.5 values for medium frequencies. The intensive green roof
system (Sample B) shows good absorption characteristics at all evaluated frequencies. Sound
absorption coefficient values are always higher than 0.5, with a maximum value to 400 Hz
(
0
= 0.86) and values higher than 0.6 below 500 Hz.
The common soil system (Sample C), while offering lower performance in terms of sound
absorption compared to both Sample A and B, however shows noticeable features if compared
with the acoustic behavior of traditional roof materials.
However, the high values of sound absorption coefficient of the tested samples measured in the
160 Hz and 200 Hz frequency bands result to be not in accordance with other experimental
experiences on similar systems [10]. This can be attributed to the complex and various porous
structures of the granular material layers: there is the simultaneous presence of micro and macro
pores with complex combined effects. Moreover, granular materials and filter layers used in
green roof systems can vary from different experiments and results can also depend on the
different compactness of the same material. Anyway, additional tests are needed to verify the
behavior of green roofs at low frequencies.
In Figure 6 trends of acoustic impedance for the two tested green roofs (Sample A and B) are
shown for each one-third octave band. Acoustic impedance can be used in evaluating the sound
attenuation of ground A
ground
, as defined in ISO 9613-2: 1996 [15], i.e. for software acoustic
modelling.
The measurementss carried on by a standing wave tube give, as previously seen, the value of
the normal incidence absorption coefficient
0
, an important parameter in applications when
sound absorbing material is very close to the sound source. The sound absorption actually
depends on the angle of incidence of the acoustical waves on the surface of the material. Thus,
for green roofs relatively far from the sound source, such as a building close to an urban road, the
most important parameter results instead the random incidence sound absorption coefficient
d
,
usually evaluated by means of reverberation room measurements on large size samples.
Alternatively, experimental values of normal incidence and random incidence sound absorption
(a)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600
f (Hz)
I
m
p
e
d
a
n
c
e
:

r
e
a
l

p
a
r
t
Sample A
Sample B
(b)
-1.2
-1
-0.8
-0.6
-0.4
-0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600
f (Hz)
I
m
p
e
d
a
n
c
e
:

i
m
a
g
i
n
a
r
y

p
a
r
t
Sample A
Sample B
Figure 6: Comparison of surface incidence trends: (a) real part; (b) imaginary part
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 10
coefficients can be correlated through the analysis proposed by London [16]. The random
incidence sound absorption coefficient
d
can then be obtained from the normal incidence sound
absorption coefficient
0
as shown in Eq. 1:

+

=
2
)
0
1 (
] ) 1 ( 1 1 [ ln
2
1
2 ln
) 1 ( 1
) 1 ( 1
4
2
1
2
1
0
2
1
0
2
1
0

d
(1)
In Figure 7 the spectra of random incidence sound absorption coefficient of the tested samples,
obtained through Eq. 1, are shown. The values of
d
are generally higher than the values of
0
,
but the comparison between the different tested samples is confirmed. The diagram shows also
the trend of
d
for a concrete roof [17], taken as a typological reference solution for a traditional
cover: the high advantage in the use of green roofs compared to traditional roof techniques is well
evidenced.
From the spectra of sound absorption coefficients at normal and random incidence, the values
of the single-number weighted absorption coefficients, respectively
0,w
and
d,w
, can be
calculated for each one of the three analyzed samples (Table 4). Their calculation refers to the
procedure established in ISO 11654, Acoustics - Sound absorbers for use in buildings - Rating
of sound absorption [18]. This international Standard specifies a method by which the single
number indicator is obtained comparing the octave band values of the absorption coefficient with
a reference curve.
In Table 4 normal and random average sound absorbing coefficients
0,m
and
d,m
are also
shown. Sample B provides the best overall performance in terms of absorption coefficients, both
at normal and random incidence. Results confirm that, generally, sound absorption of green
roofs is higher than the absorption estimated for concrete traditional roofing, demonstrating the
effectiveness of the solution. It must be noticed that sound absorption coefficients at random
incidence
d,w
and
d,m
present definitively higher values than sound absorption coefficients at
normal incidence
0,w
and
0,m
.
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600
f (Hz)
H HH H
d

(

-

)
Sample A
Sample B
Sample C
Concrete roof [15]
Figure 7: Comparison of curves for sound absorption coefficient at random incidence
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 11
Table 4: Weighted and average sound absorption coefficients at normal and random incidence
Values of mean and weighted absorption coefficient are obtained in the frequency range
contained between 160 Hz and 1600 Hz in accordance with the limit of the experimental set-up
measuring their sound absorption coefficient at normal incidence: for this reason they have to be
considered partially meaningful.
6. Conclusions
In this paper the acoustic performance of different green roofs has been studied to evaluate
their effectiveness in interventions aimed to reduce the environmental noise in urban areas.
In particular, three greening systems have been experimentally tested measuring their sound
absorption coefficients at normal incidence: extensive green roof (Sample A), semi-intensive
green roof (Sample B) and common soil (Sample C).
The results obtained from the experiments indicate that green roofs provide in general a high
sound absorption, especially if compared to the typical performance of traditional horizontal
roofs. The values and trends of the sound absorption coefficients are significantly depending on
the selected stratigraphy. The spectral distribution of
0
is strongly marked, with the maximum
absorption at a frequency of 400 Hz for Sample B. In detail, the Sample B at frequencies above
250 Hz provides the better system performance. This result is in tune with urban traffic
noise-reduction requirements (heavy/light vehicles, low speed) in which low frequencies are
predominant.
The common soil analyzed (Sample C), while offering lower performance in terms of sound
absorption than A and B samples, shows anyway noticeable features if compared to a traditional
concrete rooftop.
The high values measured in lower frequencies bands of Sample A are not in agreement with
the traditional behaviour of porous material, as the various layers that compose the test samples
and green roofs in general. These values have to be measured again by repeating the measure on
the tested samples, and are probably obtained due to the complex and various porous structures
of the granular material layers, as well as the different compactness of the same material.
The values of the random incidence sound absorption coefficient have been calculated through
the method proposed by London. The
d
calculated values are generally higher than the
0
measured values, but the relative comparison between different systems confirms the previous
observations. The comparison with the acoustic characteristics of a concrete roof, assumed as a
reference solution, shows the large advantage achievable through the adoption of green roofs
compared to traditional flat roofs.
Finally, the average and the weighted sound absorption coefficients (ISO 11654) for
0
and
d
have been evaluated, referring to the frequency range investigated. The values confirm the best
performance of Sample B and indicate, however, that green roofs allow higher sound absorption
than conventional roofs (concrete, tiles).
Roof types
0,w

d, w

0,m

d, m
Sample A 0.45 0.75 0.64 0.76
Sample B 0.60 0.80 0.54 0.80
Sample C 0.40 0.60 0.44 0.63
Concrete roof 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.02
Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 12
In summary, the green roof technology combines energetic and environmental advantages as
well as the opportunity to concur, by reducing the sound reverberation, in urban noise reduction.
8. References
[1] E. C. Snodgrass, L. McIntyre, The Green Roof Manual: A Professional Guide to Design,
Installation, and Maintenance, Timber Press, Portland, OR, 2010.
[2] S. Weiler, K. Scholz-Barth, Green Roof Systems: A Guide to the Planning, Design, and
Construction of Landscapes Over Structure, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NJ, 2011.
[3] L. Bengtsson, Peak flows from thin sedum-moss roof, Nordic Hydrology 36(3), pp.
269-280, 2005.
[4] M. Connelly, M. Hodgson, Sound Transmission Loss Of Green Roof, Greening Rooftops
for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards&Trade Show, Baltimore, MD, April
30
th
to May 2
nd
2008.
[5] G. Mann, Benefits of green roofs - a question of perspective (in German),
http://www.efb-greenroof.eu/verband/fachbei/Nutzen%20Gruendach.pdf (Retrieved on
25/10/2011).
[6] DDV, Building is possible only with green roofs (in German), Deutscher Gartenbau 27,
1998.
[7] T. Van Renterghem and D. Botteldooren, Numerical evaluation of sound propagating over
green roofs, Journal of Sound and Vibration 317 (3-5), pp. 781-799, 2008.
[8] T. Van Renterghem and D. Botteldooren, Reducing the acoustical faade load from road
traffic with green roofs, Building and Environment 44 (5), pp. 1081-1087, 2009.
[9] T. Van Renterghem and D. Botteldooren, In-situ measurements of sound propagating over
extensive green roofs, Building and Environment 46, pp. 729-738, 2011.
[10] K. V. Horoshenkov, private communication, 2011.
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Pittaluga et al.
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 14, 015005 (2012) Page 13