Posts Tagged ‘hmmh’

Plastic Pollution and Healthy Oceans

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

by Katherine B. Preston

This Earth Day I had the pleasure of volunteering at a community event designed to raise awareness about living more sustainably and reducing our collective environmental footprint.   I serve on the Board of Directors for a local organization, Sustainable Tallahassee, whose mission is to promote environmental stewardship and economic vitality in our community through education and collaboration.  At Sustainable Tallahassee, we have many initiatives, but the one we chose to highlight at Saturday’s Earth Day event was plastic pollution – specifically from single use water bottles.  We found that a lot of the festival goers with single use bottles justified using them because they recycle the bottles (which is great!) but that doesn’t quite negate the impacts.

Did you know that Americans drink around 50 billion (yes, Billion!) bottles of water each year – and that only around 20-25% of those bottles are recycled (according to National Geographic). That means around 38 billion plastic bottles are sent to a landfill each year in the U.S. alone, and many end up in our waterways and oceans.  The environmental impacts don’t stop there, unfortunately.  It takes about 17 million barrels of oil each year to manufacture all these bottles (again – U.S. estimates only), and approximately 3 liters of water to produce 16 ounces of bottled water.  Let’s not forget about the energy needed to transport all these bottles to retailers and homes, and to refrigerate them, and the impact from groundwater pumping.

If the environmental impacts alone don’t convince you to permanently ditch the bottled water, consider that all of this damage doesn’t come cheap either. On average, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water, and is no safer than what comes out of your faucet (unless you live in areas with lead pipe problems of course).  I am guilty of grabbing bottle waters at times, and tell myself that since its only once in a while it’s ok (plus I am very forgetful when it comes to reusable mugs and water bottles and have lost so many over the years).  After this year’s Earth Day event, I have made a pledge to do much, much better – and bought myself a new stainless steel water bottle since the last one was left on a plane somewhere in Baltimore…

If you spent time in this costume in the Florida heat educating your fellow citizens of the evils of bottled water, you’d make a vow to never use a plastic bottle again too! HMMH would be happy to send you one of our new HMMH stainless steel water bottles, just for reading this – please email us to order yours!

BTS Releases National Transportation Noise Map

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Source: https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_17

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) initial National Transportation Noise Map was released earlier this week.  It shows that more than 97 percent of the U.S. population has the potential to be exposed to noise from aviation and Interstate highways at levels above below 50 decibels (roughly comparable to the noise level of a humming refrigerator).  A much smaller segment of the U.S. resident population has the potential to be exposed to higher levels of aviation and Interstate highway noise. Less than one-tenth of a percent of the population could potentially experience noise levels of 80 decibels or more, equivalent to the noise level of a garbage disposal.

The purpose of the noise map is to facilitate the tracking of trends in transportation-related noise, by mode, and collectively for multiple transportation modes. The data allow viewing the national picture of potential exposure to aviation and highway noise. The data also allow viewing of the potential exposure at the state or county level.

The National Transportation Noise Map will be an addition to the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD), a set of nationwide geographic databases of transportation facilities, networks, and associated infrastructure available from the BTS Geospatial Data Catalog. The layers will be updated on an annual basis, and future versions of the National Transportation Noise Map are envisioned to include additional transportation noise sources, such as rail and maritime.

The BTS map contains aircraft and road noise inventory data provided as web map services (WMS) for use with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), computer programs that can store, analyze, and present spatial or geographic data.

The mapping was developed by the DOT’s Volpe Center, using data sources from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to create a comprehensive map of noise levels. The FAA’s Aviation Environmental Design Tool was used to model the average number of daily flight operations from airports across the country, excluding airports with exclusively military operations. To determine daily road noise data, algorithms from the FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model were used in conjunction with data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System to obtain the average daily noise levels for automobiles, medium trucks, and heavy trucks. The acoustics modeling used in developing these noise layers uses conservative, simplified methods, and only considers transportation noise (no other ambient noise sources). Documentation on the modeling assumptions is available at https://maps.bts.dot.gov/noise/. The noise data in the layers should be used for the purpose of tracking trends, not for assessing impacts. This data release represents the first year of data that can be used to analyze future trends.

My first month at HMMH

Monday, March 20th, 2017

by Katherine B. Preston

Now that I have been a member of the HMMH team for about a month and have everything figured out (if only), I decided it was time to write my first blog post.  First, let me say that I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful firm!  Having worked closely with Mary Ellen and Gene for years while at ACI-NA, I was not surprised to learn that the rest of my new colleagues at HMMH are equally as intelligent, passionate, welcoming and well-respected in their fields.  Most importantly they are a patient bunch, having gracefully fielded my many questions about time sheets, expense reports, project numbers, and where to find things located on the network.  Thankfully, I think I am starting to get the hang of it.

The past month has been quite the whirlwind, and included visits to the home office in Burlington and several airport clients, the Florida Airport Council’s State Summit, my first industry conference as a non-association staff, and a visit up to my old D.C. stomping grounds to attend FAA’s Environment and Energy REDAC meeting!  One of the most interesting experiences was attending the ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium in New Orleans, LA last month.  The conference brought together consultants and airport staff from a wide variety of disciplines, and I learned a lot about airport planning, how to write a great proposal, and the client interview pitfalls to avoid.  It was also great to catch up with old friends and colleagues and meet new ones.  I was proud to hand out my new HMMH business cards, and fortunately I brought plenty, because there were over 1000 people at the event!  I will also admit, it was really also nice to simply be an attendee at the conference so I could sit and listen to the panelists, rather than being responsible for planning the sessions.

Now that the dust of my first few weeks is (partially) settled, I am really looking forward to working with HMMH’s current clients, and helping to grow our practice.  For the past several years, I’ve been particularly interested in the exciting sustainability initiatives taking place across our industry, and only see this trend continuing.  Despite the current political climate and the rhetoric from Washington D.C. about rolling back ‘burdensome’ environmental regulations, I see an opportunity for us as an industry to demonstrate just how beneficial sustainability can be in terms of creating operational efficiencies, conserving resources, streamlining processes, positively engaging stakeholders, and of course saving money.  While some benefits are more easily quantifiable than others, I have never heard an airport say they regret incorporating sustainability into their organization.    I look forward to working with airports to help them maximize these benefits, whether by developing a comprehensive sustainability program or undertaking individual initiatives like a renewable energy project or greenhouse gas inventory.

The next few months will continue to be a learning experience for me personally as I transition from the association world to aviation consulting, and for the industry as a whole as we navigate a changing political and regulatory landscape. But I am fortunate to be learning from and working with the best here at HMMH!

So, What’s Next?

Monday, January 9th, 2017

by Nick P. Miller

Knowing that I will be retiring on 15 January 2017, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’m leaving behind after 43 years of consulting.  And what’s next?  How will I replace the challenge and excitement, (without the stress I hope) and what do I really want to do when there are no longer the time demands and obligations to get “work” done?

Somewhere during my occasional reflection on retirement, I remembered how I felt graduating from college.  After finals and before the ceremonies, the engineering faculty held a dinner in the faculty club for the members of Tau Beta Pi.  I remember the candle-lit dinner and a talk by one of my favorite professors.  His topic was a point he often made in lectures:  there’s a “pedestrian” method for solving a problem and an “equestrian” method.  I loved that concept (one that I realize Dick Bolt subscribed to as well).  The concept was emblematic of the education I got in college – go for the essence of the problem; avoid getting wrapped up in details that don’t contribute to the solution.  (I admit this approach is not always easy or obvious, and in fact, its challenge is partly why I like it.) At any rate, I was feeling pretty good about my college experience.  After the dinner, back alone at the apartment that I shared with two other guys, I thought:  “It’s over.  It was great. It was not without some set-backs, but I did my best. So, what’s next?”

That kind of sums up how I feel about retiring.  Though my career was not without missteps, I loved the basic work and the overall objective of trying to make people’s lives a little better, even if it was only in being an objective voice that recognized their problem.  Just as important were the wonderful, varied and unusual people I met, worked with, worked for, and those with whom I shared a dedication to the discipline of acoustics and noise control.  Starting HMMH with Andy, Bob and Carl was certainly just as important and as satisfying as was the work.  I learned so much about people, what motivates them, what upsets them and what helps them do their work.

I don’t want to give the impression that I fell easily into any of this.  Getting used to consulting and being comfortable initially took at least five years, and really cruising probably took ten to fifteen years.  Adding some humor and occasional light-heartedness another five.  That leaves another 23 years when everything was pretty cool.  I never thought of my career that way before now, but that’s about right.  Weird, huh – half the career getting into it?  I’d have to say that the need to support a family, dedication to the people I worked with and led, and perhaps a bit of grit helped me stick it out.

To answer my initial question.  I know two things – I have to have a routine, and I need variety.  Here’s the list I am building: take violin lessons again (I played for nine years as a kid), exercise at least five days a week, clean the excess stuff out of the house we’ve lived in for thirty-eight years, finish the wood trim on our Maine house, cook dinner for my wife and me (and maybe a couple of guests) at least once a week, spend more time than 20 minutes at breakfast reading, play Scrabble with my wife at least once a week and maybe I’ll beat her someday, check out volunteer possibilities in town, spend more time with family and friends, and learn a new craft, like how to make Windsor chairs.  Of course, I’ll do the usual puttering around the house to keep things in shape.

The reason I am revealing this list is to increase the chance that I’ll actually follow-through, so that if anyone asks me how it’s going, I won’t embarrass myself by having to make excuses.

So there you are.  My last blog on the HMMH website.  If I have more to say, I may put reflections on LinkedIn.  I don’t expect to disappear entirely however.  I’ve made too many life-long friends not to stay in touch.

Best of luck and good health to all.  Cheerio!

HMMH Assists FAA and Airports in Standardizing the Process for Determining Sound Insulation Program Eligibility

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

by J. Eric Cox

HMMH has provided acoustical testing, design, and other consulting services to airports throughout the country that have implemented sound insulation programs in accordance with FAA Order 5100.38D Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Handbook. HMMH has most recently been conducting sound insulation measurements around several airports including:

  • T. F. Green State Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island
  • Tweed – New Haven Airport (HVN) in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Louisville International Airport (SDF) in Louisville, Kentucky (shown below)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Over the last several months, HMMH has also assisted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airport sponsors in standardizing the process for determining sound insulation program eligibility per current FAA requirements and criteria, which include that the average interior noise level for a residential building or educational facility must be 45 dB or greater.This work has included a recently completed Policy, Engineering, Analysis and Research Support (PEARS) study for the FAA Office of Environment and Energy regarding selection of appropriate aircraft noise spectra for use in determining outdoor-to-indoor building noise level reduction (NLR).

In addition, we have assisted several airport authorities (including Los Angeles World Airports and the Port of Seattle) in developing sound insulation program acoustical testing plans (ATP) for FAA review. This work has included providing additional information and supporting details related to the various methods that may be used to measure the exterior building façade sound level in the determination of NLR, each of which require a different adjustment to the measured level to account for the reflection of sound energy from the façade under test that is not transmitted through the exterior wall and instead travels back to the measurement microphone.

And as part of our on-going sound insulation testing work at Louisville International Airport, we have recently been evaluating noise mitigation program eligibility for several educational buildings and residential dormitories at the nearby University of Louisville Belknap Campus. This has required us to evaluate methods to compute daytime average sound levels (as required for educational facilities by FAA) that are consistent with the noise study, aircraft operations data, and analysis methods previously utilized to generate the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) noise contours for the Noise Exposure Map (NEM).

Finally, I will be presenting a paper at the New England Noise-Con Revolution in Noise Control conference to be held in Providence, Rhode Island during June 13 – 15, 2016. This paper investigates the correlation between aircraft interior noise levels and various residential building construction features. The results of this analysis are then considered in the context of the current guidance provided in Appendix R of the FAA AIP handbook, which specifics a procedure to determine the eligibility of residences for sound insulation programs based on interior noise levels for categories of homes. Ultimately, we were unable to identify any specific building construction details which might result in truly effective categorizations of residential structures for this purpose since even the best possible approaches resulted in ranges of interior DNL noise levels that directly overlap and all of which span the 45 dB FAA criteria. An example presentation graphic is provided below comparing average interior DNL values for single family homes with total window assembly glazing thickness.

graph
If you are interested and would like to learn more, please attend my Noise-Con presentation entitled “Investigation of Correlation between Aircraft Interior Noise Levels and Residential Building Construction Details” on Tuesday June 14, 2016 from 1:20 PM – 1:40 PM in Room 550 A/B of the Omni Providence Hotel during the “Building Acoustics Measurement and Modeling” conference session. Hope to see you there!