Noise pollution is a persistent challenge for local councils and contractors, particularly in densely populated residential areas. No one wants to be woken by the relentless rumble of a street sweeper at 3 AM or kept awake by the monotonous drone of a mower at 6 AM.
For many councils, noise complaints are now the number one complaint they receive. As a result, many councils have developed their own reporting and resolution processes for managing these burdensome noise complaints.
Noise pollution from sound and vibration present health risks for workers operating noisy equipment. And councils and contractors must adhere to strict noise restrictions, limiting when they can and can’t operate. These elements present plenty of challenges for councils to tackle!
Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB) using a sound level metre. Because the dB scale is logarithmic, a 10 dB reduction equates to roughly half the perceived loudness.
The decibel scale starts at 0 dB, where human hearing begins. The scale goes up to 194 dB, which is the point where the eardrum can rupture, although 130 dB is the pain threshold for noise.
There are also dBA sound levels. The difference between dB and dBA sound levels lies in how they account for the way the human ear perceives different frequencies of sound. dBA levels are ‘A’ weighted, meaning they are adjusted using weighting curves to approximate the sensitivity of the human ear.
With a sound that has a 100 dB level at 100 Hz, when the “A” weighting is applied to this sound, it considers how the human ear is less sensitive to low-frequency sounds. As a result, the perceived loudness of this 100 dB sound at 1,000 Hz will be equivalent to only 80 dB.
dBA levels provide a more accurate representation of how humans perceive and experience sound.
A commercial diesel-powered mower is around 90 to 95 dBA. A vacuum cleaner in the home is around 75 to 80 dBA. For further comparison, a chainsaw is 120 to 125 dBA, and a normal conversation is 60 to 70 dBA.
A small change in dB can represent a substantial difference in how loud the sound is. This is why we prefer to think about dB reduction as a solid number rather than as a percentage because a 30% reduction may not translate to what the ear will hear due to the logarithmic nature of the decibel scale.
To better visualise this transformation, refer to this scale that illustrates where EcoTeq equipment stands compared to diesel machines. Note that the difference between ground-level and ear-level sound is striking.
To better understand the operational quietness of EcoTeq equipment, refer to the below table that details test results for the Rival 60″ Rear Discharge Mower at varying distances and blade speed settings.
|Test Number||Machine||Distance||Mower Settings||Max Volume|
|1||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||1m||Blades Low Speed||82.4dB|
|2||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||1m||Blades High Speed||81.8dB|
|3||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||3m||Blades Low Speed||75.3dB|
|4||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||3m||Blades High Speed||75.6dB|
|5||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||5m||Blades Low Speed||70.9dB|
|6||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||5m||Blades High Speed||71.4dB|
|7||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||7m||Blades Low Speed||66.4dB|
|8||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||7m||Blades High Speed||67.5dB|
|9||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||12m||Blades High Speed||55.3dB|
|10||MG Rival 60” Rear Discharge||12m||Blades High Speed||56.7dB|
Electric outdoor landscaping and maintenance equipment is transforming the soundscape of outdoor maintenance, with electric outdoor mowers, sweepers and scrubbers reducing noise pollution – and noise complaints.
EcoTeq’s electric equipment operates at less than 80 dBA across its entire range, and often even lower. This means industrial maintenance can take place without the disruptive roar of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) equipment. The implications for councils and contractors are profound.
Electric equipment emits minimal operational noise, making it significantly less disruptive to surrounding communities. This allows councils and contractors to perform essential tasks such as street sweeping and lawn maintenance without triggering complaints or jeopardising public safety by being able to operate out of peak foot traffic periods.
Imagine spring, when daylight hours lengthen, and the grass grows fast and long. By using electric mowers, operators have the flexibility to start their work earlier and finish later while still complying with noise regulations.
The reduced noise levels enable busy pavement and sidewalk areas to be cleaned at night when foot traffic is sparse, enhancing efficiency and minimising the disturbance to the public. In built-up residential areas, this is critical for reducing noise complaints.
Sounds measuring 85 dB or louder, especially when exposed to them for an extended period, can potentially damage hearing. For operators, EcoTeq’s electric equipment operates at sound levels considered safe without the need for hearing protection while still adhering to current Work Health and Safety (WHS) guidelines. However, we still recommend using hearing protection for extended or prolonged exposure to low-level noise as a precaution.
Prolonged exposure to high sound levels in the workplace can have severe health consequences. It can lead to hearing loss, increase stress levels, and decrease overall productivity. Managing sound effectively is not just about maintaining a peaceful working environment, but also about safeguarding the health and well-being of the workforce.
In Australia, organisations like Safe Work Australia and its state- or territory-level equivalents play a pivotal role in setting safety standards for workplaces.
Using electronic outdoor landscaping and maintenance equipment gives councils and contractors greater flexibility to operate while still adhering to these stringent sound management standards.
The impact of noise is far-reaching, with noise complaints being a leading cause of community dissatisfaction. But one Melbourne council discovered how electric sweepers can substantially reduce noise complaints and extend their operating hours.
The significance of reduced noise extends beyond residential areas. Health care facilities, aged care facilities, education settings, and other environments where quiet is imperative can all benefit from electric equipment.
Quiet equipment won’t disturb patients and students. Quietness is particularly needed when schools or universities are running exams.
EcoTeq’s commitment to lower noise levels isn’t just about meeting regulations. It’s about preserving the health and safety of operators and the peace of communities. By providing a quieter alternative, EcoTeq enables organisations to maintain their green and other outdoor spaces without disrupting people.