Christmas shoppingWith Christmas Day only days away, Georgetown is buzzing with activities as excited persons fill the city’s streets and sellers display their festive commodities.Georgetown — in particular along Regent Street to Avenue of the Republic — is becoming more congested, as exuberant vendors look forward to an exciting Christmas with their families this year.However, when Guyana Times caught up with some of the vendors on Monday, they expressed that all is not as merry and bright as it may seem. A clothing vendor who gave her name only as Natasha said sales are slow although theVendor Don Paulstreets are filled with persons.“Right now things lil slow, but I’m hoping that it will pick up, maybe by weekend into next week. People not really buying clothes…but in between yuh still getting one and two things sell. I know things will pick up later on, man,” she told this publication.Meanwhile, a beads and craft vendor related that “things going nice” so far for the season.Leon Anthony said people are shopping every day. He took the time to encourage the Guyanese public to be safe on the road ways, and to always designate a driver if consuming alcohol during this season.“Everything nice, man! Everybody doing deh shopping; businesses blooming and so on. No complaints. My wish for Guyana is for everyone to have a merry Christmas and a blessed new year. Make sure to use the roadways safely, and just have a nice time,” Anthony declared.Don Paul, a fruits vendor, highlighted the reason for the season as he stated thatVendor Jerry Londonit’s a time to spread love and joy to each other. “It’s not only shopping up and suh; this time is to spend time with yuh family and people close to you. My plans for this Christmas is just to eat, drink and be merry. Season’s greetings to all Guyanese near and far”.He also noted that even though “things are slow”, he is contented with whatever he sells at the end of the day.When Guyana Times spoke with plants vendor Jerry London within the city about business sales and his plans for the season, he related that even though the holidays are near, the sales are still quite low.“Well, even though things are slow, I know that Guyanese are late shoppers; so I’m hoping that it will pick up in the week.”These vendors remain positive that things will change over the coming week.SafetyFor business persons, the Guyana Police Force has called for checks to be made to Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems to ensure they are working properly. In fact, the Force is encouraging that Digital Video Recorder (DVRs) be properly secured to preserve valuable information.Advice was also issued for visitors in the capital city by ‘A Division’ (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander Marlon Chapman recently, as he urgedNatasha (only name given) along with other vendors on Avenue of the Republic, Georgetownshoppers to “carry your wallet in an inside jacket or inside trousers pocket. Avoid rear pockets. Keep purses on your lap when dining out, Not dangling over the back of a chair.”According to Chapman, Police patrols and outposts around the city will be boosted in a bid to ensure a secure shopping environment.He revealed that part of the efforts to ensure increased safety is the splitting of Georgetown into seven sub-sections, as compared to six last year.These sub-sections run from Agricola, Greater Georgetown to Central Georgetown. The areas will be equipped with mobile outposts and frequent patrols will occur, with senior members of the GPF in charge of each sub-sector.
SAN FRANCISCO–Six teams have been eliminated and four clubs remain alive, but San Francisco Giants fans aren’t watching this year’s postseason with the same level of focus they did earlier in the decade.The Giants suffered through the worst month in San Francisco-era history in September, winning five games in a 30-day stretch that left a fan base significantly concerned about the direction of the franchise.Instead of selling playoff tickets, the Giants are trying to sell interest in next …
As net-zero energy and Passivhaus-certified houses become more commonplace, it’s not at all unusual to hear of exterior walls rated at R-40 or R-50. But that’s not going to be nearly good enough for Tom Schmidt, who’s building a 3,800-square-foot house in Minnesota.R-80 is more like it, and the walls need to be “cost-effective” as well as not too thick.Schmidt’s quest has apparently been prompted by a design that places living space over a garage. According to Schmidt’s Passivhaus consultant, this configuration brings with it some energy penalties and results in the need for additional insulation.“We have already gone through a couple passes to make it as efficient as possible and are at the point where the only change left that would have a big impact would be to take the garage out from under the living area and have it separate,” Schmidt explains in a post at GBA’s Q&A forum.“I like the current design (it took us two years to get to this point between the back and forth with my wife) and I want to have the house certified. I could pass on the certification and still have a very high-performing house, but honestly I think it’s cool and want it.” RELATED ARTICLES A Passivhaus Design for Alaska’s Frigid ClimateMeet the Tightest House in the WorldPayback Calculations for Energy-Efficiency Improvements From Building Science Corp: High R-Value Enclosures for High Performance Residential Buildings in All Climate Zones From the Cold Climate Housing Research Center: Subarctic Passive House Case Study Passivhaus Homes are Extremely Tight and Energy-Efficient Are Passivhaus Requirements Logical or Arbitrary?Can Foam Insulation Be Too Thick? But if you insist, there are ways to get thereOne way of accomplishing the R-80 wall, says Jerry Liebler, is to use a double 2×4 wall filled with mineral wood or blown-in fiberglass. With an overall wall thickness of 19 1/2 inches (plus drywall and sheathing), Schmidt would get to R-82. And, Liebler adds, the added cost over an R-40 wall would be about $2 a square foot.Whatever you do, writes Jason Hyde, you’re going to need a multi-layered assembly, and no matter what wall assembly eventually wins, it will be thick.“Build a SIP home and clad it with outstation,” Hyde continues. “Basically a double-stud wall but the inner wall is [a] SIP. This outsulation could be [dense-packed cellulose], blown fiberglass, mineral wool, whatever. The main advantage here is that you get SIPs up quickly (weathered in) and then can proceed with the outsulation. The drawbacks here, in addition to the standard SIP drawbacks, are that you still must frame an outer wall.“I would have suggested doing what Go Logic has been doing (successfully) and do a stick frame clad with SIPs,” he says, “but to hit R-80, your inner wall would need to be made out of 2x10s or 2x12s.”If the problem is the garage below the conditioned space, adds AJ Builder, possibly the solution would be to beef up the garage doors. “So, maybe install two garage doors, one behind the other — superinsulated custom doors,” he says. “Be kind of cool to have a stack of doors opening with about a foot of lift delay each… Watching the babies go up and down would make hanging out in front of them in your Tesla a great place to be. Pop a cold IPA.”Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA technical director Peter Yost has to say:There are two questions posed here: Can Schmidt’s goals be achieved? And are they reasonable? These two questions may seem mutually exclusive, given the design and the requirements of the Passivhaus standard. But I would argue that Schmidt’s goal of Passivhaus certification is clearly attainable, and that he simply needs to convince his lender and/or the next owner of his home that what he did is reasonable. (Translation: valuable to the next owner).I have argued before that selecting the interest rate for payback analysis is pretty much a Ouija board exercise for even relatively short-lived goods but completely speculative for long-lived durable goods like buildings. (For more information on payback calculations, see this BuildingGreen blog, or this article by Martin Holladay: Payback Calculations for Energy-Efficiency Improvements.) If the energy performance improvements that Schmidt is considering last beyond his ownership, he just needs to find someone willing to pay for the features he has selected. This is true regardless of whether the feature is an R-80 wall or a granite countertop.I think that a great way to design, market, or underwrite a “wildly” performing home is to link extraordinary performance with resilience: make the home self-sufficient in the face of extreme events or crises. The “payback” seems like a pretty silly singular rationale for super-high-performance in the face of the grid going down or a hurricane making every home in your neighborhood except yours uninhabitable. BuildingGreen founder Alex Wilson is spending most of this time now on this issue; see the Resilient Design Institute. In reality, Schmidt is chasing the wrong goalThere’s no real reason to design R-80 walls, writes Dana Dorsett, because it should be possible to win Passivhaus certification with walls in the R-50 neighborhood, even in Climate Zone 7. But having conditioned space over the garage probably won’t work.“The other way to go would be to shoot for net zero energy rather than Passive House, buying your thinner walls with a PV-clad roof,” Dorsett says “It’s probably less expensive overall, and you could probably keep the space over the garage.”With the cost of a photovoltaic (PV) system now under $4 a watt in Dorsett’s area (and $2 a watt in Germany), and the availability of high-efficiency ductless minisplit heat pumps, there are more appealing avenues that Schmidt might choose.“In 20 years, when it’s time to replace the heat pumps and/or PV,” he says, “the PV will cost less than half as much, and the heat pumps will have gained in efficiency. The full life cyle cost of heating with ductless heat pumps and $3/watt PV is on par with natural gas in some places, and in 20 years it will be dramatically cheaper than it is today, making the 50-, 75-, 100-year outlook even more favorable for site-produced power and heat pumps than over-the-top super insulation.“Methinks R-80 is only ‘cost-effective’ in terms of meeting your certification goals, but those certifications have little to do with breaking even on energy costs over the next 100 years, or what’s actually nice for the planet,” Dorsett says. Return on investment is clearly not importantGBA senior editor Martin Holladay suggests that Schmidt might want to emulate the details used by Thorten Chlupp (a builder in Alaska who built R-75 walls insulated with cellulose) or the details used by Tom Marsik (a builder in Alaska who built 28-inch-thick R-103 walls insulated with cellulose).Holladay says that the least expensive way to get to the R-value that Schmidt is looking for is probably with a double-stud wall 22 inches thick that’s packed with cellulose insulation. “Of course,” he adds, “on the day that your insulation contractor comes to do the dense packing, you’ll need several tractor-trailer loads of cellulose.”What about dense-packing the walls with hundred dollar bills? (That was Stephen Sheehy’s suggestion.) Or, Jesse Thompson suggests, building two rigid geodesic domes, one inside the other, with a vacuum pump that evacuates the space between then.This is the kind of thing that gives Passivhaus construction a bad name, says Peter L. It’s really about bragging rights and seeing how much money a homeowner can use for construction.It’s all crazy talk, says Nick Welch. “Stuffing a 3,800-square-foot house with R-80 walls to get a [Passivhaus] certification is like putting five Prius engines in a Hummer so you can drive in the carpool lane,” he writes. “…However, it also piques my morbid curiosity, and I would love to see pics of it actually built this way.”Schmidt has no illusions about the quixotic nature of his pursuit. “I fully realize I am likely at a point where the [return on investment] is difficult to justify or ever pay itself back,” Schmidt replies. “I am essentially over-engineering something that doesn’t need it to meet the demands of a standard that doesn’t handle my particular design very well. All to satisfy my desire to have a piece of paper that says my house meets a particular standard.” Schmidt says he has investigated a number of options and is currently leaning toward structural insulated panels filled with expanded polystyrene (EPS).“Vacuum insulated panels sound interesting, but I don’t know if they are meant for an entire external envelope,” he adds. “The goal is to still keep it cost effective. I just don’t want a 3-foot wall to do it.”Are Schmidt’s goals achievable? And even if they are, are they reasonable? That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight.
The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) has revised its record updating application forms as part of efforts to improve customer service delivery. The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) has revised its record updating application forms as part of efforts to improve customer service delivery.The forms that have been modified are those used for re-registration, late entry of names, late registration of births and deaths and correction of error, whether births, deaths or marriages.The RGD’s Customer Care Manager, Trudy Edwards, told JIS News that the entity has commenced issuing the revised forms at all its offices, but will continue accepting the old forms up to October 1, 2019, when they will be phased out.Mrs. Edwards further noted that, beginning May 1, 2019, only the revised forms will be available on the RGD’s website at www.rgd.gov.jm.She pointed out that the forms have been revised to provide customers with additional information through a step-by-step guide to the various application processes.The forms detail requirements for the application process, including documents that should be submitted to the RGD, procedures to complete same, and whether interviews are required, among other things.“The RGD seeks to improve the customer experience by providing all users of our services with the relevant details to assist them in preparing their application and to ensure that they have the right documents when they do visit our offices,” Ms. Edwards highlighted.She added that the new forms will assist in reducing the number of visits persons would be required to make to the RGD in trying to determine documents required or how to treat with a particular situation or matter.“For example, for the applicant who seeks to add the father’s particulars, there is now clarity in terms of the different scenarios, such as if the father is deceased, what would the applicant do, if the mother is deceased or cannot be located, how would that matter be dealt with. So we guide them accordingly,” the Customer Care Manager explained.She further cited that in the case of correction of error, the revised form lists the main supporting documents that are required and also gives detail on the categories of persons who would be accepted as declarants.“On the forms, we also still feature the ‘important points to remember’ because we do have some customers who want to do a last-minute check in submitting the required documents. We still offer the prices, and if it is that a particular case is one that is outside the norm, we guide the customer, step by step, what it is that they need to do,” she outlined.“So we have been hearing the complaints of our customers, and one of the complaints we would have received over the years would be whether, in attending each of our offices, information is similar across the board. We have now armed our customers with more information, as this whole revision is to improve the customer experience and ensure that all our offices speak the same language, as it is one voice, one agency,” Ms. Edwards asserted.For more information, persons may visit the RGD’s website at www.rgd.gov.jm; send email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or at Facebook.com/rgd.jamaica; or contact the Marketing and Planning Department at (876) 619-1260 ext. 6111-3 and 6104. The forms that have been modified are those used for re-registration, late entry of names, late registration of births and deaths and correction of error, whether births, deaths or marriages. Story Highlights The RGD’s Customer Care Manager, Trudy Edwards, told JIS News that the entity has commenced issuing the revised forms at all its offices, but will continue accepting the old forms up to October 1, 2019, when they will be phased out.