Would you pay $3,000/month for a home?

September 17th, 2013

That’s one of the questions being asked in Michigan where, in the Grand Rapids area, visitors are given tours of the Union Square condominium building.

As a condominium building, the facility is only 7 years old. As a structure, it’s more than 100-years old, formerly the home of a high school.

While moderately sized at 1,900 square feet, the units inside aren’t cheap, priced at $3,000 per month. The developers did upgrade the building, though. The windows are insulated and the entire structure has had soundproofing material built in – a nice amenity for a building set next to a five-lane highway.

They are nice units for those with a lavish lifestyle. Each has two floors, large bathrooms, decks for lounging, bamboo bedroom flooring, marble showers, and more.

I just can’t get over the proximity to the highway. Even with soundproofing, I’m not sure I’d way to pay $3,000/month for that type of view!


New San Diego FBI Headquarters Opens

August 21st, 2013

CBS8 in San Diego reported the opening of the new FBI headquarters in the same city. The building, if you check out the article and attached video, looks really nice. The new facility has been open for about 2-3 months now. The stunning 250,000 foot building features a gorgeous courtyard as well as a gym.

The part that tickled me, though, was the glib remark the writer made about the soundproofing. Apparently things in the old office were so bad they had actually glued panels of carpet to the walls.

Just as a reminder – we covered that back in June of 2009 with – Soundproofing Mistakes – Carpet on the Walls.

I have to be honest, though. I can’t blame them for trying. When sound is a concern, you can start to feel a little desperate. FBI agents have stressful jobs and I’m sure that anyone coming back to the office after working a case would pay a dear price for some peace and quiet.

I’m just glad to see they got a new building before they resorted to hay bales or dark paint!

TF Green Airport Closes Runway

August 7th, 2013

The TF Green Airport in Rhode Island shut down it’s secondary runway in late July. The shut-down is the first stage of a 4-year improvement project that will not only extend the runways but will take care of local soundproofing concerns as well.

The shutdown of the runway is actually temporary. They’re starting by addressing some safety concerns but will then reopen that particular track before the holidays. The track will remain open until the Spring, when nicer weather will allow construction to resume again.

The airport has huge plans that will take them straight through 2017. They’re building a collection system to protect the environment from the deicing solution used on planes and they also have plans to extend the airport’s main runway.

Area homes are of concerns as well. Throughout the entire process, the airport will be reviewing homes to see if they fall under FAA guidelines. Homes that qualify may be offered a voluntary buyout and those that do not want the buyout will be offered soundproofing. This applies to both business and residential properties.

How to Soundproof a Boiler Room

July 26th, 2013

Soundproofing a boiler room may not seem like a big deal to most people. They’re primarily located in large office buildings, shopping malls, and industrial complexes, right? Well, most of the time, but what about condominiums, townhouses, and apartment buildings? They all have boiler rooms, and if you should happen to be in a unit hear the room, you may be surprised at how loud it can be.

Oddly, this video has no sound, but you can see some pictures of different boiler room and the ways they were soundproofed. Our recommendation is still to use Green Glue and dry wall, but you may not have that luxury in an unfinished or concrete area. Check it out.

A Car with No Soundproofing?

July 12th, 2013

Fifteen years ago, the folks at Volkswagen set a challenge for themselves. They wanted to build a car that can travel 235 miles per gallon. Today, they’re tinkering with the most futuristic car – probably in the world – and it gets a whopping 261 miles per gallon so far.

The prototype of the VW XL1 was first driven back in 2002 when Dr. Ferdinand Piech drove it on down to the shareholders meeting. Granted, that ride was likely less than pleasant thanks to the nose the prototype was probably making.

Regardless, 13 years later, the hybrid that focuses on diesel and electric is preparing to hit production lines for a limited run.

To be honest, the concept scares me a little bit. The miles per gallon is stellar, despite being actually unrealistic for a car undergoing normal use. Despite that, you’ll still end up getting far more miles per gallon than you would in any other car.

The car only seats two people and it has very limited storage space. In other words, you’re not taking it on a long road trip and you’re probably not picking anyone up from the airport.

Part of the reason the MPG number is so good is the vehicle’s weight. Made of carbon fiber materials, the entire car weighs in at only 1,753 pounds.

And the part that makes us sad? When the car switches from electric to diesel, you hear a really loud grinding noise. I guess you can’t properly soundproof a car you want to be as light as humanly possible.

I don’t think I’ll be taking a ride in one anytime soon. Will you?


Will the Rock n’ Roll School Be Too Noisy?

June 19th, 2013

The former Woodstock Jewish Congregation building in Saugerties will soon be a school – a rock n’ roll school, that is.

After months of planning, the representatives of the Paul Green Rock Academy seemed to have convinced concerned neighbors and planning board members that they have sufficient plans for soundproofing the rooms in the building before opening for business.

With an open date slated for July, the facility will feature a series of 5 classrooms. There will also be a recital hall. The school is geared towards children ages 8 through 18 and will focus mainly on the mastery of classic rock skills. Sounds like the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s don’t stand a chance of dying any time soon.

There were some other stipulations that had to be met. The facility is only allowed to hold 24 recitals per year, each ending no later than 10pm. They can only be held on Fridays and Saturdays and any shows on Sundays must be matinee performances. The noise must be no louder than 60 decibels at the property line.

It seems like the Paul Green Rock Academy wants to be a good neighbor while offering a valuable service to society and the community. Hopefully their neighbors will be satisfied with their sound barrier plans and will give the school the space and respect it deserves. Besides, it sounds like they’ll have plenty of great shows to enjoy in the near future!

The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Looks to Soundproof

June 5th, 2013

The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Thebarton, Adelaide is preparing to undergo a soundproofing project, and the entire thing is already undergoing a great deal of scrutiny.

According to 7News in Australia, the church has received a grant of $5 million, causing a political upheaval. Why? The grant came directly from the federal government.

Politicians, like Nick Xenophon, one of the senators, believe the amount is ridiculously excessive. When questioned, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed that the church is eligible for insulation under legislation that protects places impacted by the growing noise imprint within the city.

It is important to note that two other area churches have also received grants. One has received $3 million and the other has received $3.5 million. The government believes each has received the minimum amount necessary to conduct properly soundproof the facilities.

Funding for these projects is coming from a fund created by the Adelaide Airport levy – a fund put together to pay for changes caused by airport sound pollution. Of particular interest, however, is a current investigation of the priest, Father Prokopios Kanavas concerning an allegedly forged reference of character. Could there be other forms of fraud occurring in relation to the costs of these projects? Probably not, but we’ll know in time.

Would You Spend $46K on a Night of Sleep?

May 20th, 2013

That’s right. I said $46,000. Forty-six thousand dollars. On what? On a good night of sleep, of course. It’s worth it, isn’t it?

According to the New York Post, that’s just what some people are doing. A mother of triplets in New York City had a horrible time getting sleep with three babies in the house. One morning, after having absolutely no sleep, she started searching for answers.

In this particular instance, soundproofing a room wasn’t the answer. The babies actually did need someone’s attention throughout the night. It was just that this particular mom couldn’t give them all the attention they needed, one after the other, without staying up all night.

Her solution? She hired a baby nurse to spend the evenings at her house – six  nights a week. The nurse stayed in their employ for a total of 12 weeks, at $300 per night (6 nights per week). You do the math on that astronomical tab.

They’re not the only ones spending this kind of dough, either. One New Yorker paid to have carpeting installed in his upstairs neighbor’s apartment to shield him from the noise of their late nights (carpet they eventually uninstalled because the neighbor’s dog didn’t like it). He eventually installed a soundproof ceiling instead. It cost this guy $10k to install that ceiling, but he said it made the difference in allowing him to keep his home.

For some, money is no object. For others, frugality is key. What would you spend to live a quiet life?

Windsor Locks Residents Demand Soundproofing

May 8th, 2013

It’s not an unfamiliar story. Just a few weeks ago, the residents of Windsor Locks, a town in Connecticut, gathered at a local high school for a town meeting. While there, more than 100 residents voiced concerns about noise created by the nearby Bradley International Airport.

As of right now, due to recent map updates, only one area home actually qualifies for soundproofing paid for by the airport. In general, homes in areas where the sound reaches 65 decibels or more often receive federal funding for soundproofing. There are, however, many homes who live on the “fringe” of these areas, experiencing higher than normal levels of noise on a daily basis.

The real problem in Windsor Locks isn’t necessarily the denial of funds, but the fact that many homes were once promised funds and have now been removed from the list. They have bypassed opportunities to soundproof their homes or install new windows and doors, believing assistance was on the  way. Now it’s not.

What would you do if you were a resident of Windsor Locks? What would you do to convince the FAA to change its mind and expanding the map of homes eligible for relief? Would you soundproof your own  home, or would you give up and move? Sound off…

Ask the Pro: What if *I’m* The Noisy One?

January 31st, 2013

The other day we saw an article on the DigitalLife secton of the Today.com website. The person who wrote in with the question stated that he realizes he *is* the noisy neighbor others complain about. he wanted to know what he could do to be more courteous. Kudos to him for at least recognizing the problem and asking about it.

I’m not so sure I agree with the answers the guy was given, though. While the writer was correct in that soundproofing is best done at the construction level, he sort of glosses over the fact that it can certainly – without a doubt – be done post-construction as well. Talking to your neighbors, using acoustic panels, and turning down the volume all help, but you need to find a solution that is amenable to you as well.

So why not soundproof an entire room with Green Glue or some other soundproofing material? That’s the answer I didn’t see presented, so I offer it to you now. Grab a friend or two, buy some Green Glue and drywall, and redo the room you want to use as a theater. No harm, no foul. A weekend of work will allow you to enjoy your creature comforts without bothering a neighbor!