Ear to the Ground

Understanding the Evidence: Wind Turbine Noise

Conducted detailed acoustical assessment and acoustical audits of 24
Brian Howe, President of HGC Engineering is an internationally recognized authority on wind turbine noise. He was recently asked to be part of an expert panel brought together by the prestigious Council of Canadian Academies to examine wind turbine noise  and human health. The panel subsequently created a report titled: Understanding the Evidence: Wind Turbine Noise which the Council released today.

The Panel outlined 11 main findings discussed in the full report. Some findings include:

1. The evidence is sufficient to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and annoyance.

2. There is limited evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and sleep disturbance.

3. The evidence suggests a lack of causality between exposure to wind turbine noise and hearing loss.

4. For all other health effects considered (fatigue, tinnitus, vertigo, nausea, dizziness, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.), the evidence was inadequate to come to any conclusion about the presence or absence of a causal relationship with exposure to wind turbine noise.

5. Technological development is unlikely to resolve, in the short term, the current issues related to perceived adverse health effects of wind turbine noise.

6. Impact assessments and community engagement provide communities with greater knowledge and control over wind energy projects and therefore help limit annoyance.

The Council’s release page on the Report findings can be found here


President HGC Engineering and Wind Turbine Noise ExpertBrian Howe, President of HGC Engineering

Mr. Howe is pioneer and leader in the assessment of noise from wind power projects. and had been involved with environmental noise assessments, acoustic audits, and complaint investigations for many wind turbine project developers in Canada, the United States, and Central America.

He is the current chair of the Canadian Standards Committee on Acoustic Noise Measurement of Wind Turbines. He researched and developed “Wind Turbines and Sound: Review and Best Practice Guidelines” for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). This guide is used extensively by leading industry developers and operators. Mr. Howe also authored a report commissioned by the Ontario Ministry on the Environment: Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbine Generator Systems: A Literature Review.