History and Founder Biography:
Hawkeye Global Thermal Acoustics
QuietGreen Technologies Founder - Nico Hawkeye
In 1977, our founder, Nico Hawkeye (Ha-kaya) realized that we live in a very noisy world and recognized a need to create quiet rooms as commercial and residential sound solutions. Noise and unwanted sounds in the home, workplace, and public areas disturb privacy, concentration, relaxation, and productivity. Nico's father, a pioneer in an applied field of acoustics, introduced him to the importance of sound engineering in the world we live in.
It was also apparent that movie theaters, both private and public, had extremely poor acoustics making it very difficult to hear the spoken word despite elaborate speaker systems. In restaurants, office buildings, classrooms, and private homes, interior room acoustics were terrible. Religious centers are video and audio streaming to outside audiences with reverberation and background noise, reducing the recipient's ability to clearly hear the spoken word. Virtually no one was addressing these environmental noise-based problems. He began a journey to explore the existing world of acoustics.
In an effort to try to understand why sound issues were virtually a noise epidemic, Mr. Hawkeye hired five of the most noteworthy acoustical consultants in the US to learn what they really knew about acoustics. Their mission was to help him acoustically design 3 projects, each for three architectural clients. Each acoustical consultant was hired to design the three projects. Each of these so-called acoustical experts came up with different acoustical solutions even though they all studied the same books and had the same acoustical education. It became apparent they were simply guessing at the acoustical specifications. After creating mock-ups of their designs to test each of their ‘solutions’, none came close to solving the acoustical problems each project presented.
One reason they could not solve the acoustical problems was that they were being misled by acoustical panel manufacturers. These manufacturers have been offering misleading NRC and STC sound ratings leading to inaccurate acoustical ratings. Additionally, they were completely unaware of the fact that porous fabric-covered fiberglass panels emitted harmful airborne particles and, over time, fiberglass continues to degrade and emit hazardous fiberglass dust. Architects specify acoustical products based on inaccurate or concocted manufacturer’s specs but they do not design, manufacture or install them. Acoustical engineers and sound consultants do the same.
As a result, Nico Hawkeye realized that there was a huge void in the architectural and design community for a knowledgeable acoustical expert.
By being responsible for the installation from inception to completion, Hawkeye Global Thermal Acoustics assures every client of a truly workable acoustical solution unlike other so-called acoustical experts who specify products using inaccurate acoustical specs and without regard to the long-term effects. They receive payment and consulting fees, then walk away, never taking responsibility for the acoustical value of the project.
Unfortunately, little has changed in this regard.
Mr. Hawkeye developed his own proprietary acoustical solutions for clients worldwide. By developing the unique ability to design, manufacture and install his systems, Hawkeye Global Thermal Acoustics is able to test the acoustic quality of any space before, during, and after the installation. This process allows true sound engineering for any unique acoustical environment. This is something no other acoustical company is able to offer.
In addition to the problem of poor acoustics, the issue of continued use of dangerous fiberglass is also an on-going issue. OSHA mandated in 1992 that acoustical fiberglass panel manufacturers issue warning labels stating: “Product Safety Information – Fiber Glass Wool Product CAS# 65997-17-3 Warning – Possible Cancer Hazard by Inhalation – Can Cause Respiratory, Skin and Eye Irritation – Must use NIOSH approved dust/mist respirator.” (Additional information is available upon request.)
As Mr. Hawkeye observed, this enormous environmental safety problem was ignored by fiberglass manufacturing companies, acoustical consultants, architects, and the general public. Many concerned environmentalists are now exposing these issues and enlightening the architectural and design community, and the general public, about the inherent dangers of using fiberglass, mineral wool and other dangerous sound dampening and insulating materials. There are many articles available on the Internet exposing how these carcinogenic fibers become airborne, contaminating the environment and endangering lives.
People working in contaminated office buildings often blame their sinus and other breathing problems on pollen or allergens when, in actuality, the fiberglass particulates in the breathable air space may be causing the majority of their respiratory problems. Constant exposure exacerbates asthma, airway inflammation, and other related syndromes and may eventually lead to mesothelioma.
Acoustical fiberglass panels and cubicles have been installed worldwide over the past 40 years. Fiberglass particulates create sick building syndrome. Wherever fiberglass is being used, people are breathing these dangerous airborne particles. Exposed fiberglass is used extensively in walls and above acoustical ceiling tiles in open-air chambers or plenums.
Fiberglass is still being used inside air-conditioning ducts to quiet forced air noise and to reduce vibration. This means that every day the lungs of the people working or living in a space with this type of exposure are being bombarded with dangerous particles with every breath.
In the near future, as this information becomes public, class action legal suits will result, following in the footsteps of the asbestos epidemic. Fiberglass is next on the endangered species list after asbestos, and has been labeled the ‘new asbestos’.
The article, entitled “Owens Corning Fiberglass, The Asbestos of the 21st Century" explains the problem in detail. Acoustical consultants specifying fiberglass is outrageous and dangerous. Many so-called ‘acoustical experts’ are simply glorified salesmen for fiberglass companies.
In 1992, Mr. Hawkeye sent information regarding fiberglass toxicity to every acoustical consultant in the country so they would be properly informed. Not one response was received back. After so-called acoustical experts specify these very harmful products, they are paid for their consult but don’t take responsibility for the quality of the manufacture or installation of the fabric-wrapped fiberglass, so-called acoustical panels, nor the sound quality of the finished room. If the project fails acoustically, it becomes the contractor's fault and responsibility.
Acoustical consultants charge a consulting fee because they don’t manufacture or install anything. Most architects, designers, builders, and developers have little or no knowledge of acoustics so they rely mostly on acoustical consultants, who know almost nothing about acoustical absorption. Architects certainly cannot specify safe, effective products to solve acoustical problems correctly if the consultant is providing an incorrect or inadequate specification.
Mr. Hawkeye set out to change the standards. He started by offering his acoustical solution design expertise on all projects at no charge. He is the only one in his field to offer this. Architects could get reliable, accurate acoustical design help free of charge. This amounts to millions of dollars in savings for the architectural community. Mr. Hawkeye is regarded by customers and colleagues as the most knowledgeable acoustical expert in this field. He is the strongest advocate in the acoustics field directing architects and builders to use only eco-materials and to discontinue the use of dangerous fiberglass materials.
Today, with a better understanding of the detrimental effects of a noisy environment, the need for proper acoustically tuned spaces is invaluable. Speaker and sound expert, Julian Treasure explained the effects of distractions and noise in his informative TED talk, “Why Architects Need to Use Their Ears” (http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_why_architects_need_to_use_their_ears)
As stated by Founder, Nico Hawkeye:
“All the elements in a room affect the room’s acoustics and must be taken into account when designing proper acoustical solutions. We’re the only company in the world that pays attention to these factors and really knows how to solve difficult acoustical problems. Proof of this is that acoustical consultants worldwide, to date, are still specifying standard, harmful to breathe fiberglass acoustical panels. If they knew anything at all about the products they specified, wouldn’t you think the first step would be to listen to OSHA in 1992 when the warning labels on fiberglass became mandatory? They should have stopped specifying them immediately. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the fabric used to cover fiberglass panels is very porous. This allows harmful fiberglass particles from the acoustical panels to be sucked through into the breathable air space by the HVAC systems. It’s what’s been happening over the past 40 years. People become ill and they don’t even realize it may be because of fiberglass dust particles in their breathable air space. Fiberglass dust is next on the dangerous particulates list after asbestos but is currently more prevalent in our environment than asbestos.
As far back as 1987, in the New York Times newspaper, the acting Director of the EPA, Dr. David L. Dull, stated he would rather breathe asbestos than fiberglass because at least asbestos is being regulated. This is the most powerful statement that could be made by the most powerful man in safety in this country. No one else paid attention or did anything about it, so it’s still being widely used. But we paid attention!! (http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/15/us/evidence-grows-on-possible-link-of-fiberglass-and-lung-illnesses.html?pagewanted=1)
The first question to ask an architect is what are they specifying to meet sound level requirements. 85db is the legal limit as per OSHA. If they are specifying harmful fiberglass, you’ll know immediately that they don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re still putting both commercial and residential environments at risk. Request a sample of the acoustical panels they are intending on specifying with the sound rating attached. Send it to any acoustical lab for testing. It won’t come back with the same rating that’s on the original label.
Many lawsuits will continue to result from breathing harmful fiberglass dust. This creates liability issues for anyone who specifies or sells it. Legislation calling for the mandatory removal of these harmful fiberglass products that remain in the breathable air space is being called for. Mesothelioma is the chief concern. A property tested for fiberglass dust may find themselves burdened with removal and replacement.
A major advantage QuietGreen Technologies offers over any other acoustical company is our unique ability to actually acoustically tune any room on-site to the satisfaction of anyone’s hearing. This is because all our acoustical products are assembled on site and can be adjusted and tuned during installation using our exclusive technology, guaranteeing acoustical satisfaction for any client. Our techniques can’t be duplicated in a laboratory. Over many years and thousands of projects acoustically-tested before, during and after completion, we’ve developed proprietary methods. This is how we are able to design the most beautiful sounding and looking theaters in the world. We also specialize in acoustics for media rooms, video conference rooms, and offices. We create perfect sounding rooms as well as preventing sound transmission between adjoining spaces.”
Over 40 years, Mr. Hawkeye learned how to solve virtually any sound problem. He has developed his own proprietary, environmentally safe, non-fiberglass acoustical products that perform better than fiberglass but are less expensive. He also invented state-of-the-art fabric tracking systems. These unique systems work in conjunction with specially selected eco-acoustic materials and high-performance fabrics from silk to industrial weaves, or with customer-supplied fabrics once tested and approved.
The QuietGreen Technologies program uniquely offers solutions based on Nico Hawkeye's keen understanding of how acoustics work. What other factors affect the sound quality of acoustic materials?
Different fabrics surface finishes highly affect acoustical results. The method of application of the fabric to the acoustical panels affects the acoustical rating. Most acoustical fiberglass companies glue surface fabrics to the fiberglass panel thus destroying the absorption properties. QuietGreen Technologies acoustical solutions can be incorporated at the design level to specify stud placement, drywall specifications, and isolation products to be used inside the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Mr. Hawkeye’s formulas for acoustical design are clever and proprietary and can’t be duplicated. He evolved to his position in the architectural and design community by designing, manufacturing and installing the most beautiful and best sounding projects in the market. He learned by testing his systems before, during and after his installations. His systems allow for the changeability of the fabric finish in years to come. This guarantees that almost every client will be a repeat customer in the future. When using other acoustical panels manufacturers, you must discard the whole panel when the fabric fades or is damaged. QuietGreen Technologies offers a ten-year limited warranty on all acoustical systems.
Mr. Hawkeye's work has been published over 300 times by famous interior designers and architects in articles, books, and magazines worldwide. His beautiful, acoustical fabric walls and ceiling systems have been featured in Architectural Digest Magazine more than 50 times. Mr. Hawkeye's won the Home Theater Designer of the Year award in 2007 in the US and was featured on the cover of Audio Video Interiors Magazine in 2009. Mr. Hawkeye’s QuietGreen Technologies / QuietRooms Green clients include many Fortune 500 companies. Currently, the evolution of QuietGreen Technologies products includes another unique system developed by Founder, Nico Hawkeye, an eco-thermal material system which can be used independently or in conjunction with the acoustical programs.