by J. Eric Cox
It has been a very hot summer; in fact it was the fifth warmest on record for the Northern Hemisphere. Several parts of the country are experiencing severe drought, including Texas. HMMH has recently been conducting pre- and post-construction sound insulation measurements around several airports in these particularly hot and humid conditions:
- Witham Field Airport, FL
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, FL
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX (shown below)
Working outdoors in extreme weather with the heat index typically approaching 110 has presented HMMH personnel with many unique challenges. In addition to always remembering sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses as well as being careful to stay hydrated, we have learned to avoid burns from hot metal equipment, evade Texas red wasps, dodge Florida thunderstorms, record information on and preserve sweat-soaked data sheets, politely convince residents to turn off air conditioning and open curtains/blinds during acoustical testing and work around increased indoor activity since it is often too hot for homeowners to take children, the elderly, or pets away from the home.
While the main purpose of a sound insulation program is to reduce residents’ exposure to indoor noise generated by arriving and departing aircraft, there is another significant ancillary benefit that should not be overlooked: increased thermal insulation. That’s right, sound insulation also makes a building greener, decreasing energy consumption and homeowner utility costs. I have always found interacting with homeowners and assisting in a program that improves their quality of life quite rewarding. It is nice to know we are also helping to reduce their carbon footprint and associated monthly costs as a bonus.
HMMH personnel have worked in extreme weather at the other end of the spectrum too, where homeowners are also likely to experience benefits beyond noise abatement. As I write this, we are next scheduled to conduct post-construction acoustical testing at Our Lady Help of Christians, a historic Catholic church near to Buffalo-Niagara International. We are also providing on-going acoustical services for the residential sound insulation program at the airport. In addition to Buffalo NY, our team has conducted sound insulation measurements in the snow in several locations, including Alaska and…believe it or not (I have the photo to prove it folks)…Tulsa International in Oklahoma!