Blog

How to Install Echo Barrier: Tips and Best Practices

February 10, 2021

An increased awareness of the damaging effects of noise pollution has forced general contractors and builders to consider noise mitigation solutions for their construction sites. If you’re reading this blog post, you are probably considering installing (or may have already purchased) Echo Barrier to help control noise on your site. When it comes to sound barriers, proper installation is crucial to achieve maximum noise reduction. Here are some tips and best practices to help you install your Echo Barrier for optimal performance.

How Does Echo Barrier Work?

To appreciate the importance of proper installation, it helps to first understand how Echo Barrier works to mitigate noise.

Echo Barrier acoustic panels use a patented technology to absorb noise and prevent reverberation. Whereas solid wood or metal barriers reflect noise – which can aggravate noise pollution – Echo Barrier panels are designed to absorb sound. The core of the Echo Barrier panel is made of a lightweight but highly noise absorbent composite.

This composite, which is made of bio-degradable recycled materials, is sandwiched between other materials which form an outer layer. On the front of the panel, the outer layer is a durable and waterproof PVC in a weight that helps to maximize noise mitigation. On the back of the panel, a waterproof, breathable membrane helps to keep water away from the core, while allowing sound to pass so that it can be absorbed by the composite. This durable mesh membrane works to protect the panel from damage, wear, and weather without compromising its acoustic performance.

A cross-section of an Echo Barrier panel, showing the inner composite core and outer protective layers

By absorbing the sound produced by a noise source on a construction site – like a generator or drill – Echo Barrier panels create an acoustic shadow to minimize disturbances.

The Acoustic Shadow and Noise Mitigation

What exactly is an acoustic shadow, and how does it relate to reducing the noise level on a work site? An acoustic shadow is the result of sound waves failing to spread outward due to disruptions or physical obstructions such as buildings, wind currents, or – you guessed it – sound barriers.

Within the acoustic shadow, our perception of the noise is lessened but may not be completely eliminated. This is because sound waves have the ability to spread and bend around objects – a phenomenon known as diffraction. Diffraction of the sound waves around the physical obstruction means that someone on the other side of the sound barrier may still hear some noise.

The good news is that proper placement of a noise barrier can create a favourable acoustic shadow. If the acoustic shadow encompasses nearby residences or businesses, it can prevent high-level noise from reaching people near your site. This is how noise mitigation solutions can minimize disturbance or even hearing damage caused by construction activity.

How to Install Echo Barrier for Optimum Noise Reduction

Now that you understand the concept of the acoustic shadow, we can cover the key elements of proper Echo Barrier installation.

Location

Like any noise control solution, the placement of your Echo Barrier panels will impact how effective they are at blocking sound. The idea is to maximize the acoustic shadow by placing your sound barriers as close to the noise source as possible.

A graphic demonstrating that the acoustic shadow can be maximized by placing a sound barrier as close as possible to the noise source

This graphic, courtesy of Echo Barrier, demonstrates how the acoustic shadow can be maximized by placing the sound barrier as close to the noise source as possible.

Ideally, you want to block the line of sight between the noise source and the “noise receivers” – those who would be within hearing distance of the noise source. A noise source can be a single piece of equipment or machinery, like a jack hammer, or it can refer to all of the noise-generating activities typically performed on a job site.

Supporting Structure

Echo Barrier panels are designed to be installed on some kind of supporting structure. Depending on the size of your job and the source of the noise, the structure could be a simple barrier, a compound, or even an enclosure with a ceiling or roof.

Temporary fencing or fence on jersey could serve as the underlying structure for your noise mitigation solution. Similarly, Echo Barrier panels could be installed over hoarding or scaffolding.

On this site, Echo Barrier panels are being installed on a supporting structure consisting of temporary fence mounted onto concrete jersey barriers. With the addition of barbed wire, this sound wall achieves optimum stability and security while reducing noise from a generator.

Remember: when installing anything on a temporary structure such as fence or scaffolding, you must reinforce the structure so that it can bear the additional weight and wind load.

Orientation

If not properly oriented, your Echo Barrier sound panels could be rendered totally ineffective. It is crucial to hang them with the front of the panel facing away from the noise source. The rear outer layer of the Echo Barrier, consisting of the semi-absorbent mesh, must face toward the noise source. This is what will allow the noise to pass through the outer layer and be absorbed by the composite core.

Echo Barrier panels can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on your supporting structure. You should also consider installing them on the inside of your barrier, if possible, to prevent theft of the panels.

Attaching the Panels

Echo Barrier panels include several attachment points via grommets around the edges of the panel. The panels can be affixed to your temporary structure using zip ties, hooks, or Echo Barrier’s specially designed fitting kits.

Whether you install your Echo Barrier panels horizontally or vertically, they should overlap in order to prevent “leakage” of sound. Any gaps between the panels will allow noise to escape, so overlapping the panels is key in maximizing the performance of your sound curtain.

To further enhance performance of your noise mitigation system, consider doubling up your Echo Barrier panels. They can easily be layered to achieve maximum noise attenuation.

Best Practices for Installing Echo Barrier

To get the most out of your Echo Barrier noise attenuation system, consider implementing these best practices for installation:

Maximize the Size of the Noise Wall

To combat the effects of diffraction, you’ll want to maximize the size of your noise wall. Because sound waves can deflect or refract around a physical object, create a noise barrier that is as tall and as wide as possible to improve noise attenuation.

A 12' high sound barrier, consisting of temporary fence panels and Echo Barrier acoustic panels, surrounds a hospital generator

This 12′ high sound barrier was constructed to block sound from a generator near a hospital. The height of the barrier, constructed from temporary fence panels and Echo Barrier, was optimal for noise reduction.

Install for Noise “Hot Spots”

You may already plan to install Echo Barrier around the perimeter of your site, but consider additional measures for noise “hot spots”. If you’ll be using a particularly noisy machine at any stage of the project, you can install a dedicated sound barrier for that activity. Either double up the Echo Barrier panels in that area of the site, or create a smaller compound to enclose the activity.

Sound Barrier Enclosures

You can create a sound barrier compound or sealed enclosure to suit a number of different scenarios. A noise mitigation enclosure is a great solution for generators, focused construction activity within a small footprint, and indoor construction or renovation work. Using our pickup panels and Echo Barrier, we can easily create a temporary noise control enclosure that is mobile and customizable.

A sound barrier enclosure is constructed from Echo Barrier acoustic panels hung from a temporary fence compound. A Modu-Loc delivery truck is seen in the background.

This sound barrier compound, consisting of Echo Barrier acoustic panels hung from temporary fencing, surrounds a noisy generator. A ceiling or roof of Echo Barrier panels could be added to achieve further reductions in noise levels.

Questions?

If you still have questions about how to install Echo Barrier, or you’d like to learn more about our noise control solutions, please contact us.

Author: Joanna Bieda

Joanna Bieda is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Modu-Loc Fence Rentals, and has been with the company since 2014. She loves writing and is a self-professed data nerd. She thoroughly enjoys teaching customers about all things fence via Modu-Loc's blog.
LinkedIn

We’re here to answer any questions you may have.

Contact Us
Get In Touch
Get In Touch
X

We're happy to help.

We're dedicated to ensuring all your fencing needs are met, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our products or services. Please use the below information to contact Modu-Loc today. Or call us toll free: 1-800-522-8371

s