Long term noise monitoring for airports, industrial facilities and construction projects has been well established over many years, generally done with the purpose of demonstrating compliance with regulatory standards or reporting compliance breaches. Meaning these systems have traditionally only enabled reactive use of the captured noise data.
Technology has advanced in such a way that noise monitoring should no longer be just about ‘ticking the box for compliance’. Remote noise monitoring and data processing, happening in real-time, is empowering these facilities and projects to not only avoid breaches before they occur, but to move faster by optimising operations or project delivery in a cost-effective way.
There have been many challenges in fully replacing in-person noise monitoring with continuous long-term unattended technology that provides the same outcomes, including power, communications, data storage, instrument reliability and calibration, and most importantly the need to accurately identify noise sources.
Technology has developed significantly since the first field-based permanent noise monitors of the 1970s. At that time, analogue noise instruments coupled with digital data loggers captured simple noise metrics at regular intervals, and site visits were required to collect that data until analogue telephone lines and were used to automate that collection process. However, this data transmission technology was slow and on-site storage was very limited. Instruments were analysing both time data in periodic (usually hourly) measurements and noise events for any significant deviations from background levels, to cut down the amount of data that needed to be transmitted.
Fast-forward to today, where fully continuous remote noise data is being augmented with audio and video data to provide better noise monitoring capability than ever before. Directional noise monitors can separate noise data depending on the direction it is coming from, while sophisticated aircraft noise detection can separate the noise from different aircraft types (for example, jet noise separated from helicopter noise), even when the noise levels from aircraft are lower than the ambient noise at the monitor’s location. Fast and reliable cellular mobile networks allow for the continuous transmission of large data volumes, while solar and wind power technology is helping keep monitors powered on constantly, enabling truly remote noise monitoring that provides better outcomes at a better price than in-person monitoring ever could.
What does this mean for the industry? It means noise monitoring can provide so much more value for your business, your facility, or your project than just meeting a compliance requirement. You can use noise data to:
- Maximise operations and productivity without exceeding regulatory noise limits.
- Proactively engage with your surrounding community and clearly articulate your contribution to noise in the area, improving perceptions, understanding, and ultimately your social license to grow or to increase operational activity at certain times.
- Settle potential disputes and avoid noise exceedances before they occur.
Finally, these outcomes are possible using cost-effective remote monitoring technology, which means your staff can focus their time and energy on other high-value activities.
Complete the form on this page to download our conference paper on this topic, which offers more detail on how noise monitoring has evolved over time, and how best to approach noise monitoring using today’s technology.
Author: Jeremy Gaedtke, Senior Marketing Manager (Go-To-Market & Partner) at EMS Brüel & Kjær