The effects of vision-related aspects on noise perception of wind turbines in quiet areas

Luigi Maffei, Tina Iachini, Massimiliano Masullo, Francesco Aletta, Francesco Sorrentino, Vincenzo Paolo Senese, Francesco Ruotolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Preserving the soundscape and geographic extension of quiet areas is a great challenge against the wide-spreading of environmental noise. The E.U. Environmental Noise Directive underlines the need to preserve quiet areas as a new aim for the management of noise in European countries. At the same time, due to their low population density, rural areas characterized by suitable wind are considered appropriate locations for installing wind farms. However, despite the fact that wind farms are represented as environmentally friendly projects, these plants are often viewed as visual and audible intruders, that spoil the landscape and generate noise. Even though the correlations are still unclear, it is obvious that visual impacts of wind farms could increase due to their size and coherence with respect to the rural/quiet environment. In this paper, by using the Immersive Virtual Reality technique, some visual and acoustical aspects of the impact of a wind farm on a sample of subjects were assessed and analyzed. The subjects were immersed in a virtual scenario that represented a situation of a typical rural outdoor scenario that they experienced at different distances from the wind turbines. The influence of the number and the colour of wind turbines on global, visual and auditory judgment were investigated. The main results showed that, regarding the number of wind turbines, the visual component has a weak effect on individual reactions, while the colour influences both visual and auditory individual reactions, although in a different way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-97
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Acoustics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Energy-Generating Resources
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Noise
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult


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