first_imgHundreds of people are expected to attend a public meeting on proposed wind turbines for the Killygordon area.Sinn Féin Councillor Liam Doherty, has called on Minister Alan Kelly to do more to protect communities from the divisive nature of wind farm developments, stating that the interests of communities must come before those of developers.He made his comments ahead of tonight’s public meeting which has been organised by locals opposed to the planned wind farm development for Carrickduff Hill and Lismullyduff. “As we’ve already seen from the recent experiences of communities such as in the Midlands – or closer to home in Glenties – Wind Farms have the potential to polarise and divide communities and I am fearful that this too may happen in the Finn Valley.”“Of course, this Government has done absolutely nothing to alleviate this situation; their inaction has allowed this debacle to fester and this is having massive implications for rural Ireland.”“Current guidelines suggest a setback distance of 500m between a turbine and a dwelling while also allowing a night time noise limit which greatly exceeds that set by the World Health Organisation as being safe for human health – the guidelines clearly need updating.”“Environment Minister Alan Kelly has said that he is reviewing current energy planning guidelines, however, when you consider that the current government has been in power since 2011, we have been waiting far too long for a review to be carried out.” “They have yet to do anything to address or correct this situation and, as we’ve seen, current guidelines fail to properly protect homeowners from the negative impact of these developments.”“This stalemate is dividing communities the length and breadth of Ireland, but this needn’t have to be the case if the appropriate safeguards were introduced.”“Sinn Féin has been the only party to put forward a viable, coherent and practical policy with regards to the regulation of wind farms, that’s why the party tabled the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill last year, which would have introduced proper zoning regulation, established minimum setback distancing as well as making it mandatory for developers to engage in consultation with the local community.”“Under the Department’s current guidelines, there is no requirement for developers to sit down and participate in talks with the local community affected – that is ridiculous!”“Our position on this is very clear: nobody is against wind energy however what people are against is being forced to live with the consequences of bad planning decisions.” “If Sinn Féin’s proposals were enacted, and if the Minister implemented the measures which we had previously put forward, then the current debacle in the Finn Valley could have been avoided – he has failed the people here.“Under our proposals, Ireland could potentially lead the way in Renewal Energy and Sustainable Development – we could be a Model of Best Practice around the world.”“In relation to the planned development for the Finn Valley, objections to planning authorities and to Minister Alan Kelly are now being prepared by the local community and I of course welcome tonight’s meeting as it will enable local people to become engaged in healthy debate surrounding this issue and to have their voices heard.”“I am now calling on the Minister to give serious consideration to the various concerns of the local community here, and I would ask that he now sit down and meet with them as their concerns, as well as the concerns of other communities, may help in shaping any future Planning Guidelines.” HUNDREDS EXPECTED TO ATTEND WIND TURBINE MEETING IN CROSSROADS TONIGHT was last modified: February 23rd, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tsvangirai calls for unity in Zimbabwe

first_img12 February 2009New Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has pledged to rebuild the country, and has called for unity of purpose among its people to help the transitional government deal with the country’s many challenges.In his first public address since taking up the post, Tsvangirai said there would be no turning back on the political agreement the country’s top political parties had entered into.“We know it is not a perfect agreement, but it is a workable one,” he said in Harare this week, to the applause of thousands who braved the rain to witness a historic moment for the country.“It will take time, commitment and unity of purpose to rebuild our country,” he said, warning that without national healing, there could never be progress in confronting the seemingly insurmountable challenges Zimbabwe was facing.The party leaders are expected to put together a 31-member cabinet by Friday this week, a timeline set for them by the Southern African Development Community, which helped broker the power-sharing deal.Transitional government goalsTsvangirai said the transitional government would prioritise democratisation first, deal with the humanitarian crisis, beginning with the cholera outbreak and food crisis, and ensure the rejuvenation of the economy, which was once one of the most robust on the African continent.“The economic collapse has caused many people to flee the country and seek menial jobs elsewhere, for which they are over-qualified,” he noted, adding that serious efforts would also be made to deal with problems in the health and education sectors.Tsvangirai further pledged to promote a free and democratic society and rid the government of corruption, adding, however, that this could only be achieved with the support of the region, the African Union and the international community.In addition, he said that as prime minister, he would ensure the separation of party and government business: “We must look at the problems facing Zimbabweans first,” he said, adding that transparency and openness, beginning with the leadership of the government, would ensure its success.He added that everyone had to play a part and support the all-inclusive government to ensure that the power-sharing deal signed by President Robert Mugabe and the two MDC factions was a success.Payment in foreign currencyTsvangirai said that all civil servants would be paid in foreign currency starting this month, in a move aimed at cushioning workers against hyper-inflation. Civil servants, he said, were the backbone of the government, hence the need for the all-inclusive government to urgently address their concerns.“By the end of this month, all civil servants will start receiving their salaries in foreign currency until a situation where we are able to sustain ourselves,” he said, adding that most civil servants, including nurses, soldiers and the police, had in recent years stopped going to work as their salaries were not enough to cover their daily needs.Tsvangirai urged all civil servants, particularly teachers who had stopped working over meagre salaries, to report for work on Monday, as the transitional government would address their needs.Source: BuaNews-NNNlast_img read more

What’s Different About Unity Homes?

first_imgSpeed of constructionUnity Homes go up fast. The on-site assembly of the weathertight shell is usually accomplished in one to three days, depending on complexity and garage options.From there, Unity Homes can be finished quickly because of the open layout and packaging of systems, such as pre-assembled HVAC modules — strategies that had their origin in the Open-Built system described last week. While a standard new homes takes 150 days to build (and some take a lot longer — ask me about that sometime), Unity Homes can get the build cycle down to 35 working days currently, and the ultimate goal is 20 days. AffordabilityDriving down cost, as noted last week, is a big priority for Tedd and Unity Homes. The price of new, high-quality, custom homes today is often around $200/square foot, according to the company, while the first Unity Homes are coming in at around $160-$170/sf, including foundation. The company’s long-term goal is to bring that cost down to $130/sf., which would be slightly less than the average cost of a resale home ($140/sf).Tedd is also a big believer in phased homebuilding and/or DIY participation in the process. In his view, insistence by banks and building officials that homes be absolutely complete before moving in has undermined flexibility and homeowner involvement. He calls this the “tyranny of completion,” noting that “you shouldn’t have to finish what you don’t yet need.” Tedd built his own house, starting 35 years ago, in phases: “We finished it as our family requirements grew and as we could afford it.”Tedd argues that since a long-term mortgage can more than double the original building cost, the best way to save money in homebuilding is to borrow less. For this reason, Unity Homes supports DIY involvement and phased building after the erection of the weathertight shell and completion of critical living areas. The Open-Built system supports this idea by creating accessible cavities for wiring and mechanical systems and using demountable finishes. This allows the incomplete areas to have a loft-like appearance — and not look like a construction zone. RELATED ARTICLES Unity Homes: Pushing the Boundaries of Home BuildingUnity Homes Combines Prefab with Energy EfficiencyThese Superinsulated Homes Were Delivered By TruckBensonwood Is Reinventing the HouseA LEED Platinum Modular HomeReinventing the HouseNudging Passive House Concepts into the MainstreamHow to Protect Structural Insulated Panels from DecayEducation Center Wins 2013 Net-Zero PrizeBensonwood HomesDesign for DisassemblyQ&A: Thoughts on the Bensonwood OBPlusWall? Scoring energy performanceThe Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is a standardized metric for reporting the energy efficiency of houses. In the HERS rating system, a score of 100 corresponds to a standard new home that barely meets code requirements. A score of zero would be a net-zero-energy home (one that uses no net energy on an annual basis, beyond what is produced by the house). An average existing home being sold today has a HERS rating of 130.A standard Unity Home should achieve a HERS score of about 40, while the Brattleboro house had a HERS score of 44 (three points were lost because the insulation couldn’t be inspected). Thus, Unity Homes should use only about 40% of the energy of a new home that barely meets code requirements. This energy consumption is low enough that with energy-efficient appliances and lighting and an energy-efficient air-source heat pump, a roof full of solar panels can bring the HERS rating down to zero. Minimizing air leakageThe other major energy feature of Unity homes — perhaps the most important — is airtightness. Through a combination of precise cutting of framing members, the use of Huber Zip sheathing with taped joints, and advanced European gaskets, Unity Homes achieve the very stringent Passivhaus standard for airtightness: 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure difference across the envelope (ach50). When tested by Efficiency Vermont, a recently completed Unity Home in Brattleboro (the company’s first) came in at an impressive 0.51 ach50.Tedd argues — correctly, I believe — that with very tight construction it’s not as important to have a lot more insulation at the roof than in the walls, because there won’t be as much thermal stratification as in conventional houses. In fact, the homes do so well that single point-source heating systems, such as air-source heat pumps, usually suffice as heating systems — at least for smaller homes. The homesWhen I visited Unity Homes a few weeks ago, I was treated to a tour of the company’s OBGrid computer system by Nino Jordan. It’s an impressive system that has evolved over the past 20 years.Unity Homes offers four different platforms: Värm, Tradd, Xyla, and Züm, ranging from tradition to contemporary. Each of these platforms has 35 to 45 modular elements that can be configured on the OBGrid system, which determines the exact positions and connections as each element, such as a porch or garage, is dragged into place.The client can see what the house will look like. The next evolution of development is CAD software, called OBCad, which will seamlessly compile data about the cost, specifications, production information, and more. The system will even pull in Google Earth and Bing to see how the house will sit on the building site — with actual topography and orientation. Once a final plan is selected after a series of meetings, a detailed materials list is transmitted to the manufacturing side, which includes the company’s German Hundegger CNC machine that cranks out precision-cut framing members.The design software seemed to make the design process so easy — and you can see the cost impacts of that bump-out addition immediately. Honestly, I was blown away. The more houses that are built, the more the system capabilities expand. “Anything we’ve designed and built can be used again, whether it’s a dormer, bathroom, porch, stairway, bathroom, or closet,” Tedd told me. In my blog last week, I provided a little background on Tedd Benson and his evolution that led him to found Unity Homes. This week, I’ll describe some of the features that set Unity Homes apart from both standard home construction and other panelized and manufactured home production.center_img Door manufacturers could be doing betterLike me, the folks at Unity Homes (and Bensonwood) are frustrated with what’s available in the way of energy-efficient doors. They have made a lot of headway by pre-building entire entry modules in the factory (with pre-hung doors and all the air sealing needed in the surround), but the doors themselves continue to be a weak point.Tedd let me know that indeed his team has been working on developing a better insulated door, and they expect to have a prototype soon. I’ll keep an eye on that. Green materialsThe life-cycle assessment of materials has also guided decisions by Unity Homes. For example, the company has largely eliminated the use of foam-plastic insulation, due in part of concerns about flame retardants and the high global warming potential of certain products. Instead, cellulose insulation — made from recycled newspaper with borate flame retardants — is used in the walls and roof.The foam that is used on the foundation walls is extruded polystyrene salvaged from commercial or industrial projects. And timber elements used in the houses — there are a few to serve specific load requirements and add aesthetic appeal — are typically glulam beams, but substitutes are possible, including salvaged timber from old buildings.Vinyl (PVC) has been largely avoided in Unity Homes, except for wiring and drainage piping. Siding is typically cedar shingles. And zero- or low-VOC materials are used throughout.All right, some of those air-sealing materials coming from Europe take a lot of energy to ship here, but Tedd told me that there is interest from the supplier to set up U.S. production here if demand increases sufficiently. An emphasis on energy performanceA top priority for Unity Homes is energy performance. The homes have R-35 walls and roofs that vary from R-38 to R-48 — depending on the roof spans. (Longer spans require deeper rafters (made from engineered I-joists) with room for more insulation.)Unity’s R-35 wall does better than some R-35 walls, because thermal bridging through the framing is minimized. The wall system uses 9.5-inch-deep I-studs, so there isn’t a lot of higher-conductivity wood.Unity uses triple-glazed, low-e, argon-filled Loewen windows throughout to control heat loss. With every house, designers consider window orientation and area and usually specify different glazings for different walls — installing windows with a higher solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) on the south side. I was surprised that the highest SHGC for Loewen triple-glazed, low-e windows is 0.44, while some other manufacturers offer triple-glazed, low-e windows with SHGC ratings up to 0.60. It’s not only about energyPerformance is also about durability, and Unity Homes’ meticulous attention to building science and quality control during production should ensure far greater durability than standard homes. In fact, Tedd talks about a 250- to 500-year life for his homes. (With the home my wife and I are building in Dummerston, our goal is a 300-year design life, but such longevity goals are almost unheard of today.)I’ve visited Tedd’s Walpole, New Hampshire, factory twice now, and continue to be impressed with his use of state-of-the art materials and technology from around the world — especially Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. I’ve seen materials in standard use by Unity Homes that I’ve never seen before — like dual-bead gasketing that fits into precisely cut eighth-inch spaces between framing members. Continuous improvementTedd is pretty clear about his aims with Unity Homes. “We think building a house should be fun, and more people should be willing to engage in the building of their own home,” he told me. “Unfortunately, people tend to be deathly afraid of it because it takes so long and is traditionally such a complex and stressful process.” He reminded me of the oft-heard expression, ‘build a house, lose a spouse.’ “What if it only took 30 working days, all costs were known, the build quality was above anything experienced, and it could have a net-zero-energy impact forever?” Unity Homes may not quite be there yet, but I believe they are further down that path than anyone else in home building today. The company, along with parent company Bensonwood, employs 80 people in Walpole, New Hampshire. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed.last_img read more

A List of Intangibles

first_imgWe tend to think of sales being won and lost on things that are tangible, the things you can see and count and measure. Certainly, the tangible things are important, but the intangibles are even so.Likability and Rapport: If you have a choice of doing business with someone who is likable and with whom you have rapport, all other things being equal, you choose the person you want to work with, especially if it is over a longer term. Rapport matters because relationships matter.Attitude: A good, positive, optimistic, empowered attitude is an intangible that provides a competitive advantage. Who you are matters more than what you do, and your attitude is a big part of that equation.Business Acumen: This intangible will make or break you if you sell B2B. You either know things that can help your prospective client produce better results, or you do not. You either have the advice that makes you a trusted advisor, or you lack it. The weight given this intangible is great now, and you can expect it to grow in importance.Caring: This is the “trust” part of “trusted advisor.” Are you other-oriented? Do you care about me, my outcomes, my company, my customers? If you are self-oriented, your motives prove that my results are secondary to yours. This intangible is one that most of us don’t think enough about, nor do we make sure that our clients can feel it.Presence: In an age where everyone lives behind a screen, a physical presence is going to create an advantage. I know, you are thinking that showing up is tangible, and you’re mostly right. But it doesn’t show up on any purchasing agent’s spreadsheet, and the result it produces isn’t easily measured, even when the impact is felt.Your Process: Knowing how to help your client move from their current state to the better future state they are capable of is an intangible. The sales process is perceived as being linear, but that isn’t a very accurate depiction of how we help people change. Your process can differentiate you in ways that are hard to measure, but that massively tilt things in your favor.Ability to Lead: The ability to help other people take action, people on your team, and people on your client’s team, is an intangible. It creates a preference for you and your company.Resourcefulness: If there is one thing that we do in sales, it is help solve problems. A lot of the time, we are solving problems that others have been unable to address. This makes your creativity and imagination an intangible that provides an immeasurable difference in a decision as to who to buy from.Initiative: The idea that you should take action without needing to be nudged to do so is something that will make you look very different to your clients and prospective clients. It shows that you are thinking about acting on their needs as if you are part of their team—and you are.Thoughtfulness: Little things are the big things. Cards. Notes. Following up. Asking to help outside of where it might be expected. Want to create an impenetrable preference? Start here.Intelligence: Being smart is an intangible. Knowing things is beneficial, even when those things seem to be outside of business acumen.A sense of humor: Having a good sense of humor, especially humor of the self-deprecating kind, can help you create greater engagement, and it can help you handle difficult situations with a sense of levity. This can sometimes make you the most valuable person in the room.I know sales is supposed to be science, but it isn’t. Much of what matters is invisible, is felt and not easily seen or easily subjected to measurement. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

WC warm-up match: Sreesanth shows ‘loser’ gesture to Ponting

Joining Parachute Regiment of Territorial Army for next 2 months: MS Dhoni tells BCCI

first_imgMS Dhoni has informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that he will be unavailable for two months and as a result, will be missing India’s tour of the West Indies next month as he is joining the para regiment for the next 2 months.Dhoni, who holds an honorary post of Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute regiment of the Territorial Army, had made this commitment even before the Cricket World Cup 2019. The MSK Prasad-led BCCI selection panel will meet on Sunday to announce the team.”We would like to clarify three things. MS Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now. He is taking a two month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier. We have now intimated his decision to skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on Saturday.”The selection committee has always been clear on one issue. They have no right to tell anyone irrespective of their stature as to when they should call it quits but when it comes to team selection, it remains their domain.”India’s tour of the West Indies will begin with a three-match T20I series starting August 3. The teams will then play three ODIs and two Test matches between August 8-30.Dhoni meanwhile, has no immediate plans to retire from limited-overs international cricket despite the intense speculation surrounding his future, his longtime friend and business partner Arun Pandey said Friday.”He has no immediate plans to retire. The constant speculation over the future of a great player like him is unfortunate,” Pandey told PTI.advertisementMS Dhoni had a disappointing outing in the just-concluded Cricket World Cup 2019 in which he scored 273 runs in 9 match at an average of 45.50 including two fifties but it was once again his strike rate which became the talking point.Dhoni was criticised by fans and cricket pundits for being being unable to accelerate the scoring rate in the death overs, especially in the matches against England and New Zealand, both of which India lost.Dhoni’s last international innings of 50 ended in heartbreak for the entire nation as he was run out with a brilliant direct hit from the deep by New Zealand opener Martin Guptill, effectively ending India’s hopes in the knock-out game.The 38-year-old former India captain has played 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20 Internationals so far. Dhoni has amassed 10,773 ODI runs at an average of over 50 while in Test cricket, he accumulated 4876 runs at 38.09.As a result of Dhoni’s failures with the bat, young Rishabh Pant is being looked at his successor in the limited-overs formats. The 21-year-old represented India at World Cup 2019 after being called in as Shikhar Dhawan’s replacement.Also Read | Gautam Gambhir on MS Dhoni’s future in international cricket: Necessary to take practical decisionsAlso Read | MS Dhoni has no immediate plans to retire, says longtime friendAlso Read | MS Dhoni mature enough to take decision on retirement: Sanjay Jagdalelast_img read more

Security Forces Going After Gang Leaders – Spencer

first_imgStory Highlights Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says the Government is taking the formation and participation in gangs very seriously and the security forces will be going after gang leaders and apprehending them. Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says the Government is taking the formation and participation in gangs very seriously and the security forces will be going after gang leaders and apprehending them.“We will be diminishing their status as heroes within the communities; they will face the full force of the law. Their assets will be seized and any assets [that] they have placed in the names of family members will also be seized. We will ensure that those who align themselves with organised criminal groups will be punished and will be relentlessly pursued,” he said.Mr. Spencer was speaking at the opening ceremony for the ‘Chance, Choice, Change (Triple C)’ Day Camp on Wednesday (September 19) at the Caymanas Golf and Country Club, St. Catherine.The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, popularly called the ‘anti-gang’ law, is being reviewed to provide clarity about how a gang will be declared and special measures in court proceedings to protect witnesses.The law makes provision for the disruption and suppression of criminal organisations, outlines offences in order to restore a sense of security in the Jamaican society and strengthen the capacity of law-enforcement agencies to deal with crime more effectively.The Triple C Day Camp formed part of activities for Anti- Gang Week 2018 being observed from September 16 to 21 under the theme: ‘Gang Life equals no Life.’More than 50 students who are in conflict with the law and are on probation, attended the one-day camp, which featured special presentations by members of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).The intervention was organised by C-TOC in collaboration with the Safety and Security Unit of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).A 2017 study undertaken by the Ministry of National Security reported that there are 274 gangs operating in Jamaica with some 9,000 members. Seventy-seven of these gangs are considered major organised criminal enterprises.The report also stated that there are growing numbers of children within schools who are involved in or associated with gangs.center_img “We will be diminishing their status as heroes within the communities; they will face the full force of the law. Their assets will be seized and any assets [that] they have placed in the names of family members will also be seized. We will ensure that those who align themselves with organised criminal groups will be punished and will be relentlessly pursued,” he said.last_img read more

Using Webinars to Tell Science Stories – PART I


Weight cycling could increase a persons risk of death study shows


Single national electronic health record will help improve care in Canadian hospitals