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Impacts of wind turbine noise on health and well-being from the perspective of urban morphology

Qu, Fei (2018) Impacts of wind turbine noise on health and well-being from the perspective of urban morphology. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Wind turbines are playing an increasing role in the global process of producing renewable energy. There is a development towards integrating large-scale onshore wind turbines within urban environment, and some of these are close to residential areas. The potential adverse impacts of wind turbine noise on health and well-being have attracted substantial attention. The aim of this thesis was to model the distribution of wind turbine noise in suburban-urban residential areas and to investigate the relationships between exposure to wind turbine noise, resident’s response to the noise, and their health and well-being. Questionnaire responses on health and well-being were linked to the noise mapping of respondent’s façade exposures, using statistical tests. The overall results can be highlighted as follows: Firstly, urban morphology – such as the orientation, shape, and length of the building, as well as the spacing between adjacent buildings – could largely influence localised noise exposure especially the noise on receptors’ quiet façades. Noise reduction levels of five morphological indices were identified to guide architects and urban planners in residential design. Secondly, wind turbine noise levels were positively associated with self-reported noticeability and annoyance due to the noise, as well as self-reported prevalence of ear-discomfort, dizziness and nausea. Wind turbine noise levels did not directly influence sleep and subjective well-being, although self-reported health and happiness of the study sample were poorer than the sample of national health survey. Non-acoustic factors – such as age, education, visibility of the turbine, and housing type – could affect self-reported noise evaluation and health. Thirdly, respondent’s knowledge of the research purpose leaded to under-reported health symptoms, which was an important finding on research methodology that suggested the use of a control group with research purpose masked to minimise the focusing bias in health impact assessments. Finally, planning and design suggestions were provided towards wind turbine noise management in urban areas, such as siting urban wind turbines beside busy roads, designing long terraced houses, and engaging public participation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Architecture (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Fei Qu
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2018 09:25
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 09:25
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19188

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