Immission Protection

“We do not just do noise!”

Our living spaces, especially the cities, are continually changing, spatially as well as structurally. Due to the pressure on the housing market, more and more urban development reserve areas – such as harbor or freight depot premises – are now being considered for housing construction.

In the past, these areas were not usually at the focus of planning, because they commonly come with a large number of environmental burdens. We support our clients with respect to the complex processes associated with urban and traffic planning, especially in questions regarding

  • noise,
  • vibrations,
  • air pollutants,
  • dust,
  • odors or,
  • light immissions.

Especially within the context of urban planning, we evaluate the impact of (planned) commercial and industrial areas or sports and leisure facilities on the neighborhood. Further we develop suggestions regarding noise mitigation measures in the framework of land-use and development plans.

Noise

Within the field Immission protection LÄRMKONTOR GmbH provides expert reports on:

  • traffic noise,
  • industrial, commercial and harbor noise,
  • sports and recreational noise,
  • construction noise,
  • noise created by wind energy plants and
  • by work centers.

Traffic noise

Road traffic:
We determine the noise impact caused by the construction of new roads or significant changes to existing ones, identify entitlements with respect to sound protection measures and implement these accordingly.

In addition, we assess the possibility to mandate measures in accordance with road traffic law.

We also check the effects of road traffic noise on urban land-use planning and civil engineering surface projects, or on environmental protection issues (avifauna, recreational areas).

Rail traffic:
We assess the impact of noise caused by the new construction of or major changes to railway lines, identify entitlements with respect to sound protection measures and implement these accordingly.

However, we can also determine the effects of rail traffic noise on urban land-use planning and civil engineering surface projects, or on environmental protection issues (avifauna, recreational areas).

Air traffic:
We assess the noise load for airfields and special airfields (helicopters) according to DIN 45684 and create noise maps in accordance with the EU Environmental Noise Directive.

In cooperation with our partners, we optimize air routes with respect to noise-related criteria (e.g. individuals affected by a certain increased noise level), and in addition we offer air traffic noise monitoring.

Shipping traffic:
With respect to the assessment of noise caused by ship traffic we utilize the program IMMI based on the Anleitung zur Berechnung der Schallausbreitung an Wasserstraßen (ABSAW–Instructions on how to calculate sound propagation along waterways). In addition, we have created a data base which can be referenced for the sound immission of ships.

Industrial, commercial and harbor noise

We calculate and measure the immissions generated by large commercial, industrial and harbor areas as well as of handicraft businesses and evaluate them based on applicable regulations such as the Technischen Anleitung zum Schutz gegen Lärm (TA Lärm – Technical instructions for noise protection).

In cases of urban land-use planning, however, it is frequently necessary to determine how loud newly allocated or revised industrial or commercial areas may be. In order to do so, we conduct noise allocations in accordance with DIN 45691 and devise regulation suggestions for urban planning. In a following step, we offer our support with respect to the implementation of the regulations through the individual companies / businesses (allocation confirmation).

Sports and leisure noise

In cases in which areas of sensitive utilization exist within close proximity to sports and recreational facilities, noise conflicts are not uncommon due to, for instance, noisy public address systems, screaming and rather long utilization periods. We evaluate the sounds generated by sports and recreational facilities, identify potential conflicts and suggest solutions.

Construction noise

Construction noise is often rather intensive but temporary – during the day as well as with respect to the construction period (weeks, months). We forecast construction noise load and are able to point out noise mitigation measures or to propose ways to optimize construction processes with respect to noise or time early on.

In cases in which building projects are conflict-laden, take a longer period of time and are located within the proximity of areas of sensitive utilization, we conduct accompanying long term noise level monitoring ( Noise monitoring). In addition to the levels, we also record the sounds in order to be able to present evidence regarding the immissions that are exclusively generated by the building activities, if required. This makes it possible to identify construction processes that are particularly disruptive and can be optimized with respect to sound.

Wind energy plant noise

In Germany, the grid of wind energy plants has been growing for years. This can lead to utilization conflicts between sensitive areas such as residential complexes and wind energy plants. In connection with urban land-use planning or regional planning procedures we investigate the impact of individual wind energy plants or extensive wind farms on the neighborhood.

In forecast cases of conflict, proposals regarding noise protection or shadow casting avoidance are developed as well as with respect to regulation texts for the planning procedure.

Work center noise

Employees have different needs when it comes to the requirement of being able to do their work in a concentrated manner at their place of work. Also, a certain noise level in the workplace can actually lead to hearing loss. Several directives regulate the desirable, respectively the mandatory noise levels by which employees may be impacted.

Our metrological equipment enables us to determine and evaluate the noise in the work place in different ways and to assess the results accordingly. In a case of conflict we are prepared to point out options to solve the issues.

Vibrations

Heavy vehicles or certain construction procedures can lead to vibrations in the earth. These vibrations can damage existing or planned building projects or have effects on the inside of such properties. In order to be able to predict such possible damaging or disruptive effects caused by vibrations, LÄRMKONTOR GmbH regularly provides such expert reports in cooperation within long-standing partnerships.

Air pollutants, dust and odors


“Numerous substances in the air are not only harmful to humans and animals when they exceed certain levels, but they also affect plants, water bodies, grounds and even buildings and materials.”

“German air and climate protection policies aim to bring about a sustainable reduction of air pollutants and of emissions that have an impact on climate. In order to plan suitable strategies and measures, it is essential to possess exact details about the emission situation.”
[https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/themen/luft/emissionen-von-luftschadstoffen]

Therefore, LÄRMKONTOR GmbH focuses on the expert assessment of air pollutants, climate protection as well as odor and dust pollution.

Air pollutants

In order to develop strategies and measures to attain a sustainable reduction of air pollutants, it is essential to possess in-depth knowledge regarding the air pollution status as well as the pollution centers in connection with the various emitters.

Planning projects have an additional influence on the air pollution status. The purpose is to prevent or to reduce negative effects on this status.

In order to create that necessary basis, we conduct research on relevant air pollutants (e.g. nitrogen oxides NOx and NO2, fine dust PM10 und PM2,5) in accordance with the EC Ambient Air Quality Directive. In doing so, we adjust the scope of our research and the propagation model to match the task. Large-scale research is conducted in connection with air pollution prevention planning, variants comparisons and feasibility studies using the screening model in IMMISluft and IMMISnet. The analyses in connection to pollution centers, land development plans, planning permissions and building projects are carried out on a microscale using the model MISKAM.

We calculate air pollutant emissions generated by road traffic based on the Handbuch für Emissionsfaktoren (HBEFA- Manual for emission factors). Our in-house implementation of the emission calculation allows us to display additional emission parameters, such as, for instance, deviating emission factors or electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles.

The emissions generated by railway as well as shipping traffic are determined based on empirical values and studies.

We also examine commercial and industrial immissions using the Lagrangian Particle Model AUSTAL.

Climate protection

In addition to air pollutants that have a direct effect on human beings and the environment, we also forecast the CO2 emissions of road traffic. The emission model HBEFA provides us with emission factors that are categorized according to street and vehicle types and are significantly more exact than the common analysis based on the kilometers that have been driven.

Expert reports on odors

Odors are continually gaining in significance. That is why we included analyses in this field to our portfolio several years ago. The propagation calculations are conducted using the Lagrangian Particle Model AUSTAL.

Expert reports on dust

Particulate matter is generated especially when bulk goods are handled. Parameters such as grain size, geometrical shape, and harmful substances adhering to the surface are relevant factors when it comes to question whether the particles may potentially be harmful. Propagation calculations are carried out using the Lagrangian Particle Model AUSTAL.

Light and shadow impact

It is not only noise and air pollutants that have a negative impact. The light emitted by outdoor lighting as well as light reflections or shadows can also affect residents. LÄRMKONTOR GmbH provides expert reports on façade brightening, glare and light reflections as well as on the impacts of shadows.

Façade brightening and glares

Lighting and floodlight facilities can lead to brightening or glares. We conduct photometric examinations to determine these key factors, assess them based on the LAI References Regarding the Measuring and Evaluation of Light Immissions and develop measures to mitigate these effects.

Light reflections and shadows caused by wind energy plants

Recurring shading of the sunlight by the rotation of the rotor blades of a wind energy plant causes frequent changing of the light. In addition, periodic light reflexes occur in their proximity, brought about by reflecting sunlight (disco effect). Also, the lighting signals of wind energy plants constitute constant light sources.

These light immissions can have a disruptive effect on the areas adjacent to wind energy plants.

We forecast light reflections and shadows for larger wind farms as well and assess them based on the LAI References Regarding the Evaluation of optical Immissions from Wind Energy Plants (WEA Shadow References).

Shadow and sun impact

We assess the effects of building projects with respect to shading effects on the surrounding areas.

The sun exposure conditions can be analyzed for individual buildings or larger planning areas in order to be able to provide advice regarding the set-up of habitable rooms. In doing so, we commonly utilize DIN 5034-1: Daylight in Interior Spaces – Part 1: General Requirements.

Consulting

Feasibility studies

At the beginning of each planning project there is an idea. Before this idea is put into practice and funded accordingly, it is necessary to verify whether the idea can indeed be implemented at all. In our field this means that we conduct feasibility studies for many different projects in which environmental impacts such as noise, air pollutants, odors, etc. play a central part.

In order not to exclude potential development locations due to possible conflicts with their surroundings right away, we have developed efficient processes that allow us to analyze locations quickly, to evaluate the situation and to point out possible uses and restrictions.

Accompanying competitions

In order to find optimal urban planning structures, competitions are frequently held for building projects or larger planning areas. LÄRMKONTOR GmbH accompanies such urban planning and structural engineering competitions. We explain planning and legal building requirements regarding noise protection, advise the participants when it comes to considering noise-related design aspects, depict the quality of the submitted competition entry (for instance, as calculated grid noise maps or façade levels), assess the quality of the draft as part of a preliminary examination and attend jury sessions in our capacity as authorized experts. In doing so, we become a member of the planning team and the process whose aim it is to support urban planning that creates living conditions that are as pleasant as possible.

Confirmative expert reports

Concerts, theater or movie presentations in the outdoors as well as fun fairs and street festivals usually only take place on a few days a year. However, the noise caused by these events can be perceived as disruptive by residents. In such cases, we offer consulting services, formulate confirmative expert reports (sound technological assessment to predict the noise load to be expected) and also develop concepts regarding the allocation of new venues.

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