DELANO, MN Acoustigreen in Delano was presented the award for the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year by the Wright County Economic Development Partnership at its annual meeting at the Montrose Community Center Jan. 16.
Acoustigreen is a manufacturer of acoustic ceiling and wall panels that meet all of the standards for green products for LEED certified buildings.
Acoustigreen is dedicated to making the best possible products in the most responsible way. Their ceiling and wall panels are some of the highest-performing, beautiful acoustical panels available anywhere.
Their devotion to sustainable sourcing includes having a panel core that is made of 100 percent recycled wood fiber, and trade secret recipes that contain no added formaldehyde and very low VOC, so in the manufacturing and/or finishing area, one cannot smell any fumes.
Acoustigreen’s owners are Mike McGrath, Gary Nafstad, and Gary May. All have been very instrumental in developing the product and setting up the processes for manufacturing the Acoustigreen panels.
Part of Acoustigreen’s philosophy is a commitment to continually work on new and innovative products.
In Nafstad’s words, “The growth of Acoustigreen depends on our innovation and the reputation of our products.”
When he is asked for a good definition of what should be labeled, “green,” he offered this definition: “Nature follows the principal of least action. All successful living entities organize to achieve the lowest energy state. Real green products involve all parts of the development of the product that is non-abusive to the environment. This is the most sustainable model.”
Acoustigreen is part of the new economy. Nafstad believes that the use of green products in building construction and design is a standard that will be here to stay. He made the analogy that this change in building model is somewhat like the introduction of ADA accessibilities standards in the 1970s. Initially there was resistance to the standards, but today they are accepted as a standard building practice.
There is a world market, which can allow for a lot of growth. Currently, they ship a significant amount of their product to Canada.
Nafstad has been an exemplary community person during his 23 years in Delano. For several years, he served on the industrial park committee, which helped guide the design and growth of the park, which is now 98 percent occupied.
Nafstad has been very supportive of the school, with many years of support for the high school calendar and the prom party. He has spoken to high school classes about entrepreneurship and business.
In addition, he was active with the Delano Fourth of July Parade Committee for many years.
The Acoustigreen building in Delano has several very environmental-friendly features in it.
The ceiling is covered with white perforated steel panels that were part of the original design 23 years ago, when the building was built. The perforations allow the panels to absorb some of the sound of the manufacturing space below, and the color white allows for more efficient use of light. The ceiling is well insulated with an R-32 rating.
They also manage their waste, so that, on average, only four cubic yards of waste are created each week. That waste is picked up by Randy’s Recycling, and 90 percent of it is recycled.
According to Gary May, general manager, Acoustigreen intends to earn the reputation of being the greenest manufacturer of custom acoustical panels in North America.