Pladis reveals Cracker Packers statue for Women’s Day

first_imgBiscuit manufacturer Pladis is today unveiling a ‘Cracker Packers’ statue in Carlisle, Cumbria, to mark International Women’s Day (8 March).The 1.5-metre statue commemorates Cracker Packers, the name used for women who used to pack Carr’s Table Water Biscuits. The statue, which depicts on Carr’s factory woman from the 1910s and one from modern times, is located opposite the Pladis factory on Church Street.The two Cracker Packers stand on a bronze Carr’s Table Water biscuit, with the distinctive Carr’s signature logo embossed into it.The statue was created by the Royal Society of Sculptors member and award-winning artist Hazel Reeves in collaboration with Carlisle City Council, Pladis and Cumbria County Council archives.“The statue conveys the humour, warmth and camaraderie of the Cracker Packers, past and present,” said Reeves. “This was only made possible by the generosity of the Carr’s workers who shared their vibrant stories with me. This statue formally marks the importance of these women workers to the factory, to Carlisle and to each other.”The sculpture is privately funded and has included a contribution from Pladis and Biscuit Girls author Hunter Davies, as well as Sainsbury’s as part of its development of a Carlisle superstore.Pladis factory general manager Mike Heaney said this public artwork stood to honour those who have helped shape the town’s history.“This commission reflects and celebrates a key element of Carlisle’s distinctive social and industrial history,” he said.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Oct. 31

first_imgO’Donnell will push for transparencyDiane O’Donnell is running for Niskayuna town clerk to put an end to a pervasive problem.Our current town clerk has historically provided minutes that are months late and that lack important meeting content and statements made by residents.  Diane O’Donnell will provide complete and accurate minutes within two weeks based on the requirements of the state Open Meetings Law.  She will make them available online and through subscription service.As an elected official, Diane will be accountable and responsive to Niskayuna residents. She will provide communication and information in compliance with the Freedom of Information Law without direction from political parties.She recognizes that Niskayuna residents have busy schedules. She will improve services by providing some weekend and evening hours to make it more convenient for the residents to do business with our Niskayuna Town Clerk.She knows that Niskayuna residents have the right to timely and complete information and quality services.She believes in community service and transparency in government. Join me in supporting and voting for Diane O’Donnell as our next Niskayuna town clerk.Gretchen DeBobesNiskayunaRiggi is one of city’s best council membersVince Riggi has proven to be one of the best City Council members being of high principles and integrity and helping Schenectady taxpayers.Vote for Vince Riggi for City Council in column 13 on the ballot. Do this first and foremost.Then, if you are not satisfied with what the present mayor is doing, especially trying to get himself a 16 percent raise in the new budget, you may let him know by writing in a person’s name like Vince Riggi, who all of you know. (Vince is only running to be re-elected to the City Council.)Make sure you use your privilege to vote on Nov. 5.(Mrs.) Jessie MaleckiSchenectadyGlenville deserves better than KohoutConflict of interest aside, can the head of the village of Scotia DPW hold town of Glenville office?On July 28 of this year, a large village-owned tree fell across the walkway into my house, causing more than $10,000 in damage. I called Andrew Kohout nearly a month prior to inform him of the condition of this tree and of the concern for public safety, as many people walk to Collins Park across the street.He was dismissive of my concern, even questioning why it was the village’s responsibility. A tree fell onto a car on Sunnyside Avenue on April 18, 2019. (The driver luckily escaping serious injury.) I was truly expecting a more concerned response from the DWP head.Due to a lack of action, on July 24, a concerned neighbor and I went to see Andrew Kohout at DPW.We showed him pictures of the tree and reiterated the concern for public safety. After three requests, he agreed to stop after work to see for himself, as he could not leave the office at that time. Andrew never showed.The town of Glenville deserves better than Andrew Kohout.Mike McGeochGlenville More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionGrateful for support after fire claims homeWhere do we begin?As we have been collecting our thoughts these past two months and trying to figure out how to pick up all of the pieces after the fire that destroyed our family’s home, we have been thinking of how to express our gratitude for the outpouring of love, thoughtfulness, support, encouragement and generosity we have received.We would first like to thank all of the first responders and firefighters who worked tirelessly to ensure everyone’s safety and provide guidance and emotional support. Their skills, knowledge, courage and bravery are amazing.Next, we would like to thank After the Fire and the American Red Cross for their support to get us back on our feet. Those who volunteer their time for these organizations are so gracious and caring.To all  our family and friends near and far, to our families in the Saratoga Springs school district and Skidmore College, to the many local businesses and organizations, and to the entire Saratoga Springs community and beyond, we thank you. Your kind words and sincere thoughtfulness gave us strength and hope and faith when we were questioning how we were going to get through this. Your love and kindness gave us the encouragement and motivation to keep moving forward. Thank you all so very much for your unbelievable generosity. We feel very thankful and blessed to be a part of such a heartfelt community and to have such an incredible support system. Our sincerest love and gratitude,The Gonzalez Family(Jose, Abby, Natalie and Harper)WiltonMore on the Gonzalez fire: Wilton fire displaces family, Operation Adopt A Soldier charity, Aug. 18, 2019Patrick an ideal choice for Sch’dy city councilI’m speaking for candidate Carmel Patrick for Schenectady City Council. Mrs. Patrick is a community activist who supports events, institutions and projects that are designed to do good works in Schenectady.She has proven her leadership in her monetary ability already at SCCC and miSci as their development officer. With excellent math skills, she is able to understand and work with budgets and has demonstrated fiscal responsibility in her prior roles.Mrs. Patrick is a very good listener and responds to good and practical ideas, an important trait for good leaders.In short, Carmel Patrick is a doer.Doing the right thing is her mantra. She will work cooperatively with courage and conviction with her colleagues to make sound decisions for Schenectady. She works tirelessly and is on the job every day.I am personally thrilled to have a person of her competence running for office in our Schenectady.Neil GolubSchenectadylast_img read more

City Target Role Reversal against Real Madrid Tonight

first_imgElsewhere, Lyon will host Cristiano Ronaldo and the Italian giants, Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 tie.After City’s win over Leicester on Saturday, Pep Guardiola said: “We will try to be ourselves. We can win and we can lose but we must try to be ourselves.”Yet in some ways, City will seek a role reversal too. Madrid’s record is the envy of Europe but in particular by teams like City, whose financial might and technical talent has translated only into disappointment outside domestic competition.In the time City have won three Premier League titles and five domestic cups, they have gone past the Champions League’s quarterfinals only once, reaching the last four in 2016, only to be beaten by Madrid.Zinedine Zidane’s side, meanwhile, have surrendered dominance in La Liga to Barcelona but made amends for one Spanish league title in seven years by winning four Champions Leagues out of the last six.Few would argue that quality explains the difference. Madrid’s success has certainly been due in part to the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo but City have perhaps boasted an even better all-round collection of players and their excellence in England points to a club well-equipped to excel in Europe.Guardiola has been accused of over-thinking against elite opposition too yet City’s lethargy encompasses nine seasons in the Champions League and Guardiola has only been in charge for three.Instead, Madrid’s habit for coming through the kind of crunch games that have so often proved City’s undoing suggests each club’s identification with the Champions League has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.Madrid believe this tournament is their tournament, a conviction based on historic success that makes them assured under pressure and ruthless in the decisive moments.“When you have a history of the (Alfredo) Di Stefano period, winning five or six European Cups at that time, it means a new player that comes to Real Madrid and puts on that shirt knows ‘we have to defend our history’,” said Guardiola. “That gives them a boost because they live that history.”When Madrid last won the Champions League by beating Liverpool in the final in 2018, their advance to the trophy seemed to rely on a number of crucial interventions falling their way.In the semifinal against Bayern Munich, they progressed after an error from Bayern’s goalkeeper Sven Ulreich. In the quarters, they were awarded a fortuitous 97th-minute penalty to beat Juventus. Even in the last 16, they faced a Paris Saint-Germain side without the injured Neymar.Yet where some saw luck, Madrid’s coach and their players saw a refusal to give in.“The point is Madrid never give up,” said Zidane after their last-gasp triumph over Juventus. “We came up against a number of obstacles but we believe in the goals we want to achieve and we achieve them because we fight.”For City, that refusal to accept defeat is still to be established and with every year that victory evades them, doubts grow too.“It’s a real, real test,” said Guardiola. “The king of this competition against a team who are not used to playing this kind of game much, because our best performance was one semifinal in our history.“So, in a marvelous stadium we have to show our personality.”Personality to Guardiola means a certain style as well as attitude but to Madrid, the objective is more straight-forward.“At Real Madrid, every season, you have to go for everything and win everything,” said Zidane last summer. “And more importantly, we believe we can do it.”Elsewhere tonight, Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, knows how big a job he faces keeping his Portuguese international colleague quiet when the French side face Juventus in the Champions League tonight.“I have been lucky enough to play alongside him. He is the captain and an extraordinary personality, a great man,” Lopes told AFP when asked about playing with Ronaldo.Lopes, 29, was born near Lyon and has spent his entire club career there. But thanks to his Portuguese roots he has won seven caps and been to two major tournaments with Ronaldo, including Euro 2016 which Portugal won.“I have gone to major tournaments with him, the Euro and the World Cup, where you have to develop links to those around you, and to do what he does every day is quite incredible,” Lopes added. “Players today take great inspiration from him.”Lyon are massive underdogs against a Juve side in a hurry for Champions League success given the massive investment they made in Ronaldo, who recently turned 35.Last year it was Lionel Messi who put Lyon to the sword at this stage, scoring twice as Barcelona won 5-1 in the second leg after a goalless draw in France.“When you play Barca or Juve, the danger comes from everywhere,” Lopes said, adding: “All eyes will be on Ronaldo, especially in the stands.”TODAY (9pm)Real Madrid v Man CityLyon v JuventusShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE*Lyon lay ambush for Juventus and RonaldoManchester City will be up against both Real Madrid and their reputation this night as the UEFA Champions League’s biggest winners play one of its biggest underachievers at the Santiago Bernabeu.last_img read more

College b-ball is back

first_imgHas anyone noticed? Basketball season is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m not talking about the NBA, but college basketball. I have already seen Midnight Madness and the Red and White scrimmage, but it took the Big Ten basketball media day for me to finally get excited for another season of college basketball.Big Ten media day was held in Chicago Sunday, and featured a gamblers dream team. Dee Brown, Vincent Grier, Paul Davis, Alando Tucker and Carl Landry were all there, just to name a few.Every single basketball team from the Big Ten was there with their “A” list athletes and head coach, and I had the opportunity to interview to them all.I started off slow, first interviewing Matt Sylvester of Ohio State. It was a quick and painless interview. Not much was said and according to him, the Buckeyes will grace the courts of the NCAA tournament this year.Next, I moved onto Landry of Purdue. Since the Boliermakers have a new coach, I thought I could pry a couple of great quotes from the Purdue swingman. But no, he just predicted he would lead the Big Ten in every single offensive category. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t a lofty goal for the senior. He was second in the Big Ten last season in scoring and led the Big Ten in field goal percentage.After the Landry interview, I moved onto the two most sought after individuals: Bruce Weber and his savior Brown. It was difficult to find the two since they were buried in a plethora of aggressive journalists. After listening to Weber answer question after question, in his raspy voice — mostly about Brown — I began to understand how important the preseason Big Ten Player of Year will be for the Illini. Since Illinois lost three starters, Brown will be carrying most of the load this season. Beyond that, Weber and the Illinois athletic department has had Brown on a Champaign-Urbana “celebrity tour.”After Brown received his bachelors’ degree last year, he has been busy motivating young children on the importance of education and leading by example.The more Weber talked about Brown, the more anxious I got. Finally, I left the Weber media fest and headed to the next table to talk to Brown. I got lucky and landed a seat right next to him. I was a little distracted by his nickel-sized diamond earrings, but managed to sneak in a few questions. I started asking him about how he sees himself as a leader and according to him, “basketball is not everything and education is the most important thing.”What? Did the one of the nations best college basketball players just admit that basketball wasn’t everything? This was a great day. Not only did Brown admit that education was important, but so did Wisconsin’s Tucker.Tucker, the leading man on the Kohl Center courts, said, ” It’s important for us athletes to erase those stereotypes on athletes in the classroom. Everyone is watching what I am doing and I am fully aware of that.”These two quotes from the two leading players of the Big Ten were astonishing. I thought this day would only go up from there. However, my next interview proved me wrong.While interviewing Marco Killingsworth, Lewis Monroe and Marshall Strickland, all of Indiana, I was shocked to find that these players did not want to talk about basketball. Instead, they had asked me to turn off my recorder to ask for my digits. Then the trio asked if Madison had racist fans. According to Killingsworth, the KKK was waiting for him following an Auburn vs. Alabama basketball game and he didn’t want to see that happen in Madison. After that story, I was quick to move on.A Paul Davis interview proceeded and it was the most ideal way to end the day. According to Davis, the Spartans are pumped and ready for the season to start. I couldn’t agree more.Although, Davis does think that the Spartans will beat the Badgers at home during this season.last_img read more

USC men’s basketball: Bennie Boatwright declares for draft, doesn’t hire agent

first_imgForward Bennie Boatwright will declare for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent, USC confirmed on Wednesday. The decision to forgo the hiring of an agent will allow Boatwright to test the waters of his current prospects in the NBA without forgoing his future eligibility as a college athlete.Boatwright spent almost half of last season on the bench after spraining his MCL in an early December game against San Diego. After taking two months to heal from the knee injury, he roared back into the starting lineup for the Trojans, dropping 23 points in his return against Washington.Although the injury kept him off the court for the first half of Pac-12 play, it did not keep Boatwright from contributing to his team. He finished the season averaging 27.6 points and 4.5 rebounds.Most importantly, Boatwright provided a vital spark throughout the team’s NCAA tournament run. He dropped a career-high 24 points against Providence, leading his team to rally back from a 17-point deficit to knock out a victory in the redemption match up.The following game, Boatwright contributed 14 points to help in a stunning upset over SMU to advance to the Round of 32. And although the Trojans fell to Baylor to end their time in the Big Dance, Boatwright notched 16 points to keep his team neck-and-neck until the end.Though his team learned to live without him this season, Boatwright was a vital piece of the Trojans’ offense and defense when he returned to the court. His announcement comes on the heels of a similar declaration by redshirt sophomore guard Shaqquan Aaron, who will also enter this year’s draft but not hire of an agent.The futures of Boatwright and fellow sophomore forward Chimezie Metu were the most unclear for Trojan fans following the NCAA tournament. Metu has yet to announce his intentions for next season, but is also a possibility to declare for the NBA draft despite retaining two more years of college eligibility to play for the Trojans.Although Boatwright and Aaron have declared for the draft, both could still return to the Trojans’ squad for next season. Due to their decision to not hire an agent, both players retain NCAA eligibility. They will have until May 24 to withdraw from the draft if they choose to continue in college next season.Until then, they will test the waters for any prospective outlets in the NBA in order to make an informed decision about which path to take.Without Boatwright, head coach Andy Enfield would face challenges in filling the forward position to make up for his playmaking abilities and physical strength down low. However, if none of the three sophomores in question — Boatwright, Aaron and Metu — leave for the draft, expectations will be high for the Trojans next season.The days leading up until May 24 will be a telling time for the Trojans, and no matter which way Boatwright goes, the decisions of young players will determine how the team will rebuild into next season.last_img read more

Geocaching: Treasure Hunting Your Way to Happiness

first_img SharePrint RelatedInside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 20): Love Big Trackable promotionFebruary 13, 2019In “Community”Inside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 19): Annie LoveJanuary 30, 2019In “Community”Back to School with GeocachingSeptember 16, 2019In “Community” A photo from geocacher Troy Tomita (t-prime), geocaching with his son in Hawaii Take a moment to think back into the Kodachrome snapshot memories of your childhood.   There’s something there. It’s clutched in your hand in the split-second flashes of family and friends and bursting sounds of laughter.  It’s the one item that helped define your childhood.  For me, it’s a brightly illustrated children’s book.  My mother read the book to me as a toddler. Not long after, I’d read the book to her over and over and over.  The yellowed price tag on the book must have read less than a dollar.A wonder of the world is that there’s often little relationship between what something costs and its value.The book was priceless to me, not because of its retail value, but because of the experiences that the book nurtured and bonds it cemented reading after reading after reading.  In your childhood memories, most likely, there’s a snapshot of a similar item. Whether it was a worn doll or a battered soccer ball or a small half-broken toy, it brought more happiness than the price could ever suggest.Odds are, if you’re a geocacher, your fingers curl around an equally powerful item now.The New York Times just published an article about the relationship between happiness and spending.  The lessons we’ve pulled from the economic ruin of the recession taught us that more money doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness.  According  to the article, one major finding of recent research is that spending money on experiences, rather than objects, provides longer lasting happiness than just buying stuff like a couch.Picture taken by geocacher, Kevin Smith (follieus), with his kids in ScotlandExperiences may, in fact, triple your happiness.  You anticipate an experience, live it and then remember it.  The value grows over time as you reminisce.  A couch’s value only declines.Geocaching offers a life time of experience growing closer with friends and family and requires only a GPS device and a willingness to explore. There are countless stories among the four to five million geocachers around the world about the value that geocaching adds to their lives.Geocacher Martin Pedersen has lost nearly 30 pounds and now hikes with his three kids more often.  Bruce Alexander began geocaching three years ago, when he was 85. He now geocaches with his son and granddaughter.  Thousands of geocachers visited Seattle one weekend in July to attend GeoWoodstock VIII and Groundspeak’s Lost & Found Celebration, where they shared their own stories about finding a little more happiness by following a GPS device to a geocache.Thinking back to your childhood provides clarity about value. Now, think about the future. Do you choose to “have” or to “do.”  Few of us get to choose both.  Holding that GPS receiver in your hand might just mean holding years of memories that you haven’t made yet.  If you choose to “do” you could end up finding more than geocaches, but more happiness, at the end of your treasure hunt.What are your favorite memories from geocaching?Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

A Senate Bill That Values Energy Efficiency

first_imgIt’s a little early to start high-fiving, but there are at least a couple of signs that longstanding approaches to mortgage underwriting and property appraisals might eventually begin factoring energy performance into valuations.One source of change in that direction is an addendum to the standard Fannie Mae Form 1004 used for residential appraisals. Issued by the Appraisal Institute, the addendum lists items that would be eligible for consideration within the appraised value of a property, including insulation systems (their type, location, and R-value); water efficiency systems; daylighting features; appliance performance ratings; average utility costs; energy audit data; photovoltaic systems; LEED for Homes and National Green Building Standard certifications and scores; and government incentives that may have been applied to the purchase or installation of the property’s energy efficiency systems.Another, more sweeping, initiative, designed to reckon energy efficiency performance with mortgage underwriting, is the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act of 2011 (S.1737), introduced on October 19 by Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado and Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia. The SAVE Act, as it is known, would require that home energy costs be factored into the formula for determining a home’s overall value and the prospective homebuyer’s eligibility for a loan.A HERS rating and mortgage underwritingThe preferred tool for estimating energy costs is Residential Energy Service Network’s Home Energy Rating System, although the law would allow other suitable third-party methods to be used (alternative methods must be approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in consultation with the Department of Energy).The Alliance to Save Energy – a coalition of industry, government, and consumer interests – points out that under the SAVE Act a seller whose home is rated as 30% more energy efficient than a comparably sized home built to barely meet the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code would see about $10,000 added to its appraised home value. And while this higher price would seem to push prospective buyers closer to their loan-eligibility limit, the energy efficiency of the house in this example, the ASE notes, could actually work in the buyers’ favor, since it would reduce the home’s projected annual energy costs by about $700. Under the SAVE Act, those projected energy savings would be among the debt-to-income factors used in determining whether prospective buyers qualify for a loan.SAVE Act requirements would apply to loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration.Modeling the potential effects of the lawEndorsed by the Appraisal Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the SAVE Act is touted as a potential driver of growth in retrofit and homebuilding sectors focused on energy efficiency. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, for example, estimates that, because the law would allow homeowners to recover the cost of energy efficiency improvements upon the sale of their homes, its enactment could create 83,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce energy costs for single-family homeowners by $1.1 billion annually.When it comes to increasing the number of energy efficiency upgrades, ACEEE estimates don’t show huge market penetration overall – 0.01% in 2013 (about 8,600 home upgrades annually) and about 0.7% by 2020 (about 650,000 upgrades annually) – but enough to slowly nudge up employment numbers in the retrofit and homebuilding categories. The analysis assumes a 15% average energy savings per home and about $5,000 in renovation costs per project.last_img read more

Installing Cork Insulation

first_imgWhat do you do if you’re a builder and your client (that would be me) hands you a material that no one’s ever heard of, let alone installed in this country, and asks you to insulate his house with it? A lot of smart builders would run the other way. Eli Gould, our partner in the Dummerston, Vermont farmhouse we’re renovating (really re-building), took it on as a challenge.Last week I wrote about the cork insulation that we’ve installed — the last of it went up at the end of last week. Here I’ll review some of the installation details that Eli and his crew figured out — including such seemingly minor issues as how to cut the stuff. Planning for the cork months agoWhen we first started talking about expanded-cork insulation last summer, we requested some samples to work with. Along with being a designer-builder, Eli has an R&D company, PreCraft, Inc., through which he works on figuring out better building systems and how advanced building components can work together. This involves a lot of prototyping, and Eli jumped at the opportunity to get his hands on some cork.Amorim Isolamentos, which manufacturers the cork insulation in Portugal, sent over several bundles of the boardstock insulation so that we — mostly Eli — could figure out how we would use it and exactly what we wanted to order. The material is available in thicknesses from a half-inch to about 12 inches and with square or shiplap edges. The exposed face of the cork we used is about 18″ x 36″. Cutting cork insulationJust about every conceivable option was tried for cutting the cork: from tools our great-grandfathers would have used to high-tech timber-frame tools. The large teeth on a two-man crosscut saw proved very effective at minimizing the kerf thickness and keeping the kerf cleaned out as they cut, but a chainsaw-like timber-framing saw proved best for bevel cuts, though it created at fairly thick kerf.One of the nice things about working with cork is that all the sawdust on the ground from the cutting is fully biodegradable. In fact, it may make a nice mulch! From an energy performance standpoint we wanted to achieve at least R-40 in the house walls and achieve that with a combination of cavity-fill insulation in the walls and rigid insulation on the exterior. We planned to use Zip sheathing from Huber Engineered Woods as the air barrier (with all edges and joints taped), allowing the interior insulation system to dry to the interior and a moderately permeable exterior insulation to dry to the exterior.Had this been new construction, we would probably have picked a very different insulation system that relied just on (less expensive) cavity-fill insulation, but we were dealing with an existing 200-year-old frame as out starting point, so we decided early on that exterior rigid insulation would be part of the system, and to meet our R-value goals we opted for 6 inches of cork.Because we had installed 6 inches of another innovative insulation material (Foamglas) on the outside of the new foundation walls, continuing the 6-inch, non-structural layer upward on the wall made a lot of sense. The 6 inches of cork would add about R-21 to the wall system. Securing the corkAs the sheets of cork were attached to the wall, the upper shiplap edge was screwed into the framing with angled screws. Once the housewrap layer is entirely installed, full-dimension, 1″ x 3″ strapping will be installed vertically and screwed into the framing with 8-inch Simpson Strong Tie screws. The screws will be countersunk into the strapping, providing a little over an inch of purchase into the Zip sheathing and framing. Horizontal clapboard siding will then be nailed onto the strapping. 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. Complicated angle cutsThere was really tricky detailing at the window surrounds. The bottom and top edges of the surrounds (see my earlier blog on window surrounds) are pitched, so the cork insulation had to be cut with a matching bevel and slid in. We wanted a fairly tight fit for energy-performance reasons, but they had to be able to slide the cork in. And in doing so, they had to make sure that the pre-applied Pro Clima Solitex water-resistant barrier (housewrap) on the window surrounds would remain exposed so that it could be properly overlapped and taped to the housewrap being installed on the whole house. Tricky detailing indeed.Similarly challenging details had to be dealt with at the roof edge — both at the eaves and gable end, but the completed job looked great! Sadly, the cork is now hidden by the housewrap, but I loved admiring it before it was covered. Shiplap edgesIn experimenting with the cork samples we recognized that tight joints — as you can achieve with rigid foam insulation — would be hard to achieve with the product, so we wanted to avoid joints extending through the material. Installing two layers of 3-inch cork was an option, overlapping the joints, but we opted to order 6-inch material with shiplap on all edges so that through-gaps would be avoided.Working up from the foundation, the bottom edge of the first course of cork was beveled to match the drainage bevel that we created with the Foamglas foundation insulation. That first course was installed on top of a metal termite-flashing layer that our roofer, Travis Slade, made up.The shiplap was configured so that any moisture running down the outside of the cork would remain on the outside and not extend through it. At the corners of the building, the overlaps were tricky — but needed to ensure that no gaps extended through. Frankly, I’m not sure how Eli’s crew figured that out — but they did a great job. RELATED ARTICLES Expanded Cork — The Greenest Insulation Material?Cork Insulation on Our FarmhouseBuildingGreen Announces Top-10 Green-Building Productslast_img read more

Habitat Chapter Sees an Energy-Efficient Future

first_imgOther project detailsEach three-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath townhouse cost about $125,000 and required 4,000 hours of volunteer labor, according to an article about the project in Builder. Money to build the units came from a variety of sources. The city of Hudson donated the infill lot.Other details, as provided by Barlis/Wedlick and The Levy Partnership:Domestic hot water: Electric storage tank model.Heating and cooling: One ductless minisplit heat pump per side unit.Windows: triple-glazed Intus units with solar heat gain coefficients ranging from 0.37 to 0.62 and center-of-glass U-factors ranging from 0.09 to 0.123.Habitat chapters around the country make their own decisions about the projects they undertake. A relatively small number of them have decided to build high-performance housing, either net-zero energy or Passivhaus, but about three-quarters of all new Habitat housing meets Energy Star guidelines. An upstate New York Habitat for Humanity chapter was already committed to energy-efficient design when it began mulling over the possibility of a project built to the Passivhaus standard — maybe not right away, mind you, but some time in the future. Then executive director Brenda Adams ran into a celebrated architect who had just wrapped up his first Passivhaus project. “What are you waiting for?” he asked her.The result of the ensuing collaboration between the Columbia County Habitat chapter in Hudson, New York, and architect Dennis Wedlick and his firm was a two-unit town house. It didn’t quite meet requirements for Passivhaus certfication, but Adams is convinced that energy-efficient design is the future of affordable housing, and the chapter already has broken ground on its second Passivhaus project. A third is in the pipeline for next year.Adams said that Habitat had been drawn to the Passivhaus standard because the standard had the potential to overcome one of the principal challenges to home ownership for people who don’t earn a lot of money: high energy costs. Wedlick, whose firm BarlisWedlick has offices in both Hudson and New York City, had recently completed the state’s first Passivhaus project, and his nudge was all it took.Wedlick and his partner Alan Barlis donated their services, and together they worked with the Habitat chapter to plan the project.It was a “tremendously positive experience,” Adams said. Close but no cigar on certificationThe 1,200-square-foot Hudson townhouses (1,614 square feet each if the conditioned basements are included) have double stud exterior walls that are insulated to R-42 with blown-in cellulose. The main roof is trussed; it is insulated to R-87. The slab is insulated to R-56.This year’s project, Adams said, is a hybrid that combines stick construction with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Next year’s project will be an all-SIP design.Habitat’s real goal, she said, is the development of a template for affordable housing that can deliver predictable results.Columbia County (population, 60,000) is south of the New York capital on the Hudson River. The chapter now builds two houses per year, although Adams said she hoped that number would grow in the future.The townhouse project was a “small but mighty” first step. Adams said that the building’s performance has been measured since completion. Adams said the townhouses performed better than planners had expected despite a cold winter.But Passivhaus certification was not in the cards. The project just squeaked by on the blower-door test for air-tightness, at 0.59 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals (the limit is 0.6 ach50). But air-flow problems with the ventilation system prevented the project from meeting all of the certification requirements, according to Jordan Dentz of the The Levy Partnership, which did field testing on the project. Levy Partnership also donated its time.last_img read more

Erli Bird: A Startup Connecting Other Startups With Early Adopters

first_imgtim devaney and tom stein China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… Tags:#social media#startups How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culturecenter_img Related Posts Don’t listen to customers, develop your products in secret and make every decision yourself.This approach worked for Steve Jobs. But it won’t work for your startup because you’re not Steve Jobs. (Heck, even Steve Jobs wasn’t Steve Jobs.)If you want to succeed today, you need to put your product out on the market, collect user feedback and keep tweaking it to make sure you’ve got a winner.You Can’t Trust Your FamilyTo do that, you need to attract early adopters, people who will sample your product or service and tell you what they think. No, not just your immediate family and Facebook friends. Real customers, users who will test-drive what you’re selling and give you an honest assessment. They’re vital. They’ll keep you from traveling down dead-end avenues and save you a lot of time and money.The problem is finding them. Erli Bird is working to solve that problem.Erli Bird is a website where beta users can discover new startups, try their products and give feedback. It works for startups, because you get customer insight to keep you on course. And it works for users, because they get to check out your cool new product, provide constructive criticism and brag to their friends that they’re helping to develop it. (Early adopters… You know the type.)Failure Is A Good Teacher“The idea came out of an experience this spring when I applied for a spot in Y Combinator,” says Erli Bird founder Mike Siegler. His startup at the time was a dating site based on the Pinterest concept and “it was not very good,” Siegler admits. He was rejected. But he was inspired. How about a startup that doesn’t solve a problem for customers but one that solves a fundamental problem for other startups?Erli Bird showcases about seven new startups on its homepage every few weeks. It offers slots for early adopters to sign up and test the products. In return for their participation, users earn points that they can redeem for products from other startups. Neat.“I’ve founded a number of companies,” Siegler says, “and I always thought there should be a service where you could get early users to test out your site and tell you what they think. Some of the startups I launched in the past, I had no idea what I was doing. I would spend time and money on development and get it out there and then nobody would use it.”There was his dating site. There was a logo-design marketplace. There was a social network for oenophiles called Wine McGee. All of them went sour.Finding Feedback Loops“My biggest problem was just getting my product in front of people,” Siegler says. “Even getting in front of 100 people is hugely beneficial. And feedback – without a formal feedback mechanism most people will not tell you what they think, won’t say, ‘Hey, I don’t understand this tab on your site,’ or, ‘This button should be on the left side, not the right side.’”Erli Bird is an inexpensive way for startups to gather this valuable information. Wahooly, for example, takes a piece of equity before it matches your startup to 5,000 “brand advocates” or social media influencers. BetaBait is free, but the email-based diretory service doesn’t provide direct feedback tools.Erli Bird has a freemium option that connects your startup with around 100 beta users for free. You can connect with more for a fee, which Siegler wants to keep low to avoid the appearance that he’s selling users.Erli Bird launched in June and now has 70 startups participating. They include Glyder, an iPhone app for small businesses built by a Zynga designer and an OpenTable cofounder, and Capriza, which lets users make their own mobile apps in less than three minutes. Erli Bird has a Kickstarter feel, with a window where the early adopters can meet the company founders.“You’re creating a product and maybe this is your first time in front of customers,” Siegler says, “but you will get honest feedback and know what you need to do to change course a lot sooner than you would have before – and in the process save a lot of time and money and, ultimately, have a much more successful company.”Image courtesy of Shutterstock. How to Get Started in China and Have Successlast_img read more