Foodbetter: Grow Better, Eat Better, Shop Better, Conserve Better

first_img6:00-7:00 p.m.: Foodbetter Dinner – Following the program, Harvard University Dining Services hosts a Foodbetter dinner, showcasing local, sustainably, plant-forward selections alongside recipes from the panelists.Foodbetter continues on Friday, Oct.13 with a fair, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., showcasing Harvard- and Cambridge-area innovators, programs or groups sharing current practices or ideas for improving the food system. The fair will feature roughly 40 booths/tables from groups on campus and in the surrounding Cambridge community.The Sanders Theatre program on Oct. 12 and fair on Oct. 13 are free and open to the public (though seating is limited and tickets are required for Sanders Theatre). Event and ticket information is available at Harvard is sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President. The two-day program is a signature event of the University-wide Foodbetter Harvard Initiative. First organized in the 2014–2015 academic year, the initiative highlights the power of interdisciplinary knowledge and discovery taking place across the University’s Schools, and explores the complex questions about food that challenge our region and the world. How do you Foodbetter? On Oct. 12 and 13, Harvard will once again engage the community in a conversation about how to grow better, eat better, shop better, conserve better — how to Foodbetter. The public program, hosted at Sanders Theatre and on the Science Center Plaza, supports a dialogue about how we can all contribute to a food system that supports and enhances personal well-being, local communities, and contributes to the long-term health of the environment.Foodbetter kicks off on Oct. 12 with a series of talks and a meal:3:30-4:30 p.m.: Lightning Round: Great Ideas to Foodbetter – These 5-7 minute talks cross the spectrum of food topics, from ethics and the supply chain for cacao (with Carla Martin, Founder and Executive Director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies) to the impact of school lunch on academic performance (Juliana Cohen, Adjust Associate Professor of Nutrition) to a system and social platform that encourages indoor edible gardening (Spyridon Ampanavos of Adams4:30-5:45 p.m.: Keynote Panel: Foodies Who Foodbetter — Some of Boston’s best chefs and restauranteurs are using their platform to change the food system as we know it. They are activists and entrepreneurs who aren’t just content with winning rave reviews. In this discussion, these industry leaders share how they are reinventing the food system and their communities from their Boston-area restaurants. Joanne Chang, Chef Owner of Flour Bakery and Meyers & Chang, will moderate a conversation with:Katrina Jazayeri, Co-Owner, Juliet — talking about social justice and its application and opportunity in the restaurant industryJody Adams, Chef Owner, Saloniki, Porto & Trade — talking about moving into the fast-casual space to make it healthier, as well as about advocacy on health issuesIrene Li (pictured at top), Chef Owner, Mei Mei Street Kitchen — talking about Mei Mei’s open-book and profit sharing approachTiffani Faison, Chef Owner, Sweet Cheeks & Tiger Mama — talking about using her platform for community advocacy, especially around LGBT issues Read Full Storylast_img read more

Massage Therapy For The Childbearing Year

first_imgSubmitted by Organic Wellness MassagePregnancy is an amazing time which holds many changes.  Some of the changes are exciting and welcome, but others are much more of a challenge.  Extra weight gain, postural changes, hormonal imbalances and emotional stress can lead to back, neck, pelvic pain, and fatigue.  Pregnancy massage is a therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the dramatic structural, physiological, and psychological ways a woman is changed and challenged throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.  Massage can help alleviate some of the usual complaints of pregnancy.Potential Benefits of Massage Therapy During Pregnancy:Alleviates stress on the weight bearing joints (low back, ankles, pelvis)RelaxationReduces neck and back pain caused by improper balance and postureEases constipation, gas, and heartburn as general relaxation stimulates intestinal movementReduces excess fluid retentionSlows the progress of varicose veins through enhanced circulationRelieve headaches caused by tensionAlleviates leg crampsDevelops the sensory awareness necessary to kinesthetically embody the birth processAids in a speedy postpartum recoveryExperience A Comfortable PregnancyIn a study by the Touch Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida; and Duke University Medical School, Durham, North Carolina, twenty-six pregnant women were assigned to a massage therapy or a relaxation therapy group for 5 weeks.  The therapies consisted of 20-min sessions twice a week.  Both groups reported feeling less anxious after the first session and less leg pain after the first and last session.  Only the massage therapy group, however, reported reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep, and less back pain by the last day of the study.  In addition, urinary stress hormone levels (norepinephrine) decreased for the massage therapy group and the women had fewer complications during labor and their infants had fewer postnatal complications (e.g., less prematurity).Pregnant Couple Massage Classes AvailableLearn self-care techniques and general pregnancy massage to support your partner through this wonderful, challenging time. Partners will learn a basic 20-minute massage sequence, including special massage strokes and techniques to maximize relaxation during labor.  Group and private classes available.  For more information, click here.About your Instructor Adriana Hutchings, LMPAdriana’s therapeutic technique combines her knowledge of anatomy with a holistic approach, assisting her clients in achieving optimal health and well being. She is nationally certified massage therapist as well as being nationally certified in pregnancy massage and labor support.  Adriana has been working with expectant couples for over 6 years and received her training from Kate Jordan who is the leading expert in pregnancy massage in the United States. Facebook22Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

Red Bank Students Win In State Community Competition

first_imgFifteen students from the Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) chapter of Family, Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) returned home victorious from the state Fall Leadership Conference held in Edison on Nov. 21. More than 30 schools from New Jersey participated in the event. RBR’s students competed in six categories, winning two gold, two silver and three bronze medals.The FCCLA is a national nonprofit organization for students through grade 12. Since 1945, FCCLA members have been expanding their leadership potential, addressing societal issues and developing life skills for the home and workplace.At the conference, competitions were held in multiple categories, including community service, marketing, baking and fashion, with participants giving both visual and oral presentations, and creating projects and banners for judging. For the community service category, RBR students conducted a food drive at an RBR football game, collecting over 500 pounds of food for the Monmouth County Food Bank. The conference event also benefitted charity, raising over $2,500 for No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength.According to their website, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America promotes “personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader, members develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.”last_img read more

Shadowbrook To Auction Off Furnishings, Décor, Mirrors and More

first_imgFor information and photos visit or call Peter Costanzo at 732.776.7222 for additional details. SHREWSBURY – A portion of the contents of TheShadowbrook will be sold on-site in a public auction on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 10a.m. The auction and preview will be on-site at Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury, 1 Obre Place, Shrewsbury. In 2015, the owners of The Venetian inGarfield and Seasons in Washington Township purchased Shadowbrook. The buildingclosed on January 1 to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation to add anaddition. Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury wasestablished in 1908 as the summer home of Dr. Ernest Fahnestock and remained inhis family until 1942, when the home was sold and transitioned into anestablished restaurant and later well known catering venue that has hostedthousands of weddings and special events throughout its successful tenure. center_img The live auction will begin on Saturday, Jan 26th at 10 a.m. The preview will be available on Friday, Jan 25th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday morning from 8-10 a.m. Antique furnishings, classic décor,decorative mirrors, artwork, architectural features, collectibles and lightingfixtures, including a famous gold chandelier with hand carved horses from theBaltimore Hotel from the foyer, will be featured. Also included will be banquetfurniture, supplies, and equipment.last_img read more

Cross-border truck convoy event to take place today

first_imgA truck convoy will travel across the border from Donegal to Derry and vice versa today (Sun) to show the world ‘what an open border looks like.’The convoy, which has been organised by George Mills from Culdaff, will see trucks on the Donegal side congregate near the Bridgend border and on the Derry side of the border gather near the Skeoge roundabout.The vehicles will then travel in convoy across the border in both directions to each roundabout. Speaking before the event, Mills told Donegal Daily: “This is a non-political event just a few trucker friends, everyone is welcome trucks and bystanders alike, If we see political posters we will be disappointed. The only flag we would like to see would be the European flag!“We would welcome the public to watch and support, particularly cross-border workers whose lives will be disrupted after Brexit.”Cross-border truck convoy event to take place today was last modified: October 20th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare 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

Global concerns growing about African swine fever

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Despite public and private efforts to control African swine fever (ASF) in China, most of the country is now positive for the disease that has reportedly killed as many as 1 million pigs. As of Feb. 13, there are 25 distinct geographic areas of China that have tested positive for the ASF virus. According to reports, supplies of pork to China’s big cities have been disrupted while prices have collapsed in areas with an oversupply of pigs from farmers who are barred from shipping to other provinces.In addition, the current outbreak of Classical swine fever (CSF) in Japan is showing few signs of abating as the nation has recently reported additional infected farms. Geographically, this means five prefectures have either domestic and/or wild pigs that test positive for the virus.Since last September, Japanese officials are frantically trying to step up biosecurity measures to contain and eliminate CSF, which had remained undetected on the island nation since 1992. Animal health officials continue to focus biocontainment tactics with the most recent infection resulting in about 15,000 pigs being euthanized. Although some farmers are requesting a vaccination strategy, officials maintain that doing so would interfere with Japan’s desire to export more of its pork.Because of the severe economic impact of CSF, outbreaks are notifiable to the World Health Organization (OIE), which withdrew Japan’s free status last fall. CSF has the potential to cause devastating epidemics, particularly in countries free of the disease. While clinically indistinguishable from ASF, it is caused by an unrelated DNA virus. Also known as hog cholera, CSF does not affect humans.As the battle against the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Belgium’s wild boar herd continues, authorities in neighboring countries are not standing still. Officials in France have deployed French troops to help secure their border with fences. German, Danish and Dutch officials are taking similar measures as the core of northern Europe’s commercial pork production is threatened by this ongoing infection.Meanwhile, ASF continues to cause havoc to farmers farther east in Europe, especially coming from the wild boar population. Countries such as Poland, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and others continue to battle ASF to varying extents. As in most cases, officials are often more concerned about the possibility of human transport of the virus, which can spread disease much faster and wider than from wild pigs alone.last_img read more

Internet Explorer 8 Takes the Top Spot… Or Does It?

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting mike melanson 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market StatCounter, on the other hand, shows IE 8 and Firefox 3.5 in a virtual tie, with 21% each, and IE 7 coming next with 19%. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… In December, we reported that Firefox 3.5 had overtaken all versions of Internet Explorer for the top spot, but that was only looking at statistics from StatCounter. We’re inclined to believe the StatCounter numbers over the Net Applications numbers for a few reasons. Take a look at the StatCounter graph of the same period.A lot has happened in the browser wars since we declared Firefox 3.5 the number one browser version. When word hit that Internet Explorer was at fault for the Google hacks in China, both France and Germany recommended that their citizens switch browsers. This caused a large number of people to flee Internet Explorer and adopt other browsers, such as Firefox, in its place. At the same time, Firefox finished multiple rounds of release candidates before finally releasing Firefox 3.6. This release caused a lot of people to stop using Firefox 3.5 and switch to the newer version, causing the numbers for 3.5 to drop slightly.While we can see these drops in the graph provided by StatCounter, the Net Applications graph shows a steady climb for IE 8. We find ourselves unable to declare a current leader in the never-ending war of browsers superiority, and, in all honesty, think it would be futile do so at this moment in time. With new versions and public relations battles over security, everything is shifting and we think it will be a while before any browser clearly pulls ahead.That said, it won’t stop us from taking a look the next time the numbers change. center_img Tags:#Browsers#news#web Internet Explorer 8 has regained the top spot in the never-ending browser battle today, or so says the Guardian, citing statistics from Net Applications. According to the statistics, IE 8 has taken a 5% lead over Firefox 3.5, but this is not only unsurprising, but likely temporary.We also have some numbers from StatCounter that show the race to be much closer than Net Applications would have you believe.According to the Guardian article, “the decade-old IE6 had a transitory spot at the top of the chart because of IE7 users switching to IE8,” but now IE8 has finally taken the lead from IE 6 because of the decline of Windows XP. We have to assume that there are a number of other reasons at play. According to Net Applications, IE 8 leads all browser versions with 22% of the market, IE 6 comes in second with 20% and Firefox 3.5 comes in with 17%. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Groupon Raises $950 Million, Grew Subscribers by 2,500% in 2010

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market mike melanson The rumors were true – online coupon company Groupon has managed to raise just under a billion dollars, dwarfing recent rounds by both Facebook and Twitter, both of which were nothing to sneeze at. TechCrunch got a hold of Groupon’s press release, titled “Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars”, which was set to hit the wires today and explains just how quickly the company has grown over the last year.According to the company, the funding comes from a laundry list of venture capital firms and late-stage investors, “including Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures. Allen & Company LLC acted as financial advisor.”Even more interesting, however, are the stats that come with the release, showing the companies explosive growth in 2010:In the last year, Groupon has been called “the fastest growing company ever” by Forbes Magazine and “America’s best website” by one of Groupon’s television commercials. In 2010, Groupon:• Expanded from 1 to 35 countries • Launched in almost 500 new markets (from 30 markets in 2009) • Grew subscribers by 2,500% from 2 million to over 50 million • Saved consumers over $1.5 billion • Worked with 58,000 local businesses, serving over 100,000 deals worldwideWhile some may have gasped when Groupon rejected Google’s $6 billion acquisition offer, it looks like the company is doing fine for itself on its own. This latest round of funding values the company at around $4.75 billion. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#news#web last_img read more

Comparing Passivhaus Homes to Other Low-Energy Homes

first_img[Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on the Building Science Web site as “The Passive House (Passivhaus) Standard—A comparison to other cold climate low-energy houses.” GBA is presenting Straube’s article as one of a pair of Pro/Con articles. The response from Marc Rosenbaum and David White is titled “In Defense of the Passive House Standard.”]By John StraubeThe Passivhaus (PH) standard is a set of voluntary criteria for an ultra-low energy use home. Originally developed in Germany for houses and low-rise multi-unit residential buildings, the standard has been applied to houses in a range of other countries and to commercial buildings as well. The most interesting aspect of the criteria of the Passivhaus standard may be that it has relatively few mandatory requirements, thereby providing design flexibility, and that it focuses exclusively on energy consumption. There are, however, many recommendations in the PH program that are not likely good decisions for cold climate (DOE Climate Zones 5-7) North American housing, and some are very impractical with little or no benefit to the environment or the homeowner.The unique focus of the PH standard is an exceptional concern for heat loss by conduction and air leakage through the building enclosure and a complete disregard for the climate zone in its recommendations. High insulation values, very high performance windows, and airtightness levels better than any other building program anywhere are the normal result. Very efficient appliances are also practically required to meet the energy consumption targets.Despite their name, homes built to the Passivhaus standard are not “passive.” All Passivhauses must have an active mechanical ventilation system and all have some type of active heating system, albeit very small ones. The use of passive solar design principles is recommended but not mandatory.The Passivhaus concept was developed by Dr Wolfgang Feist and Prof. Bo Adamson in the late 1980s and implemented in research in the 1990s. According to Feist, the inspiration of the PH program was the housing of William Shurcliff (a solar house pioneer) and Harold Orr (a superinsulated house pioneer of Saskatchewan House).RequirementsThe primary Passivhaus target criteria are:a total heating & cooling demand of <15 kwh>total primary (i.e., source) energy of <120 kwh>airtightness 0.6 [email protected] Pa or lessEven some of these requirements may not be actually be mandatory: in a 2008 interview in Energy Design Update [1] Feist himself stated that the heating demand number could be anything. In this interview Feist also stated “As long as you build a house in a way that you can use the ventilation system … to provide heating and cooling it can be considered a Passivhaus.” By this latter definition, thousands of Building America homes that use the heating and cooling system to provide ventilation, are Passivhauses! Of course, if the requirement is for a non-recirculating heating system then this is quite restrictive and not very beneficial for cold climate housing.Other commonly recommended (or, depending on what you read, required) measures include:peak heating demand should be under 10 W/m2 (3.2 Btu/ft2)total site energy of <42 kwh>window U-values of <0.8 W/m2K (0.15 Btu/ ft2/F, R-7.1)high-efficiency heat recovery (over 80%)The floor area is measured by total conditioned area inside the cladding. (The PHPP 2007 states on page 37, that “The dimensions used in the PHPP are always exterior dimensions. Therefore the most exterior layer of the thermal envelope are to be entered.” However, the area is reduced further by about 20% because stairwells, and walls are subtracted, as this is the standard German method of area calculation). The basement is only considered at 60% of its actual area because it is not considered living space in the German standards. Why, I can’t understand; perhaps Germans don’t build basements you can live in like a modern basement in North America.Typical Passivhaus ApproachThe typical Passive House approach is focused almost exclusively on the reduction of space heating loads, leaving the lighting, hot water, cooling, appliance and miscellaneous electrical loads to fall under the “total primary” requirement. However, it is widely acknowledged that very efficient appliances and lighting must be used to meet the primary/source energy targets in most cases.Almost all Passivhauses rely on:very heavy insulation, R-40 to R-60 walls, R-50 to R-90 roofs, and often R-30 to 50 sub-slab insulation, triple-glazed low-e windows, and exceptional avoidance of thermal bridges (except for wood framing),ultra-airtight construction (<0.6 [email protected]) which, together with the R-value requirements, usually result in designers needing to choose simpler shapes,passive solar gain for a portion of the heating by orienting the house to the south and using a window SHGC of around 0.5 (or higher if possible),heat recovery, in the past with earth tubes and more recently with dual core HRVs to reach high 80% to low 90s efficiency, but essentially always with supply air to each space with return air pathways, andheating of the ventilation air to provide space heating, although many homes use radiant floors, walls, ceilings, and radiators.The diversity of solutions is, however, large, and could be considered a strength of the program. There are Passivhauses that use gas boilers to provide heating, and those that include solar hot water and/or PV, and wood stoves. Cooling on the other hand, is rare, largely because of the geographic areas in which the program has been more widely adopted.Insulation and AirtightnessInsulation levels of walls of Passivhaus’s are generally in the range of R-40 to R-60 for walls, R-60 to R-90 for roofs, and R-30 to 50 for slabs. Perhaps just as importantly, thermal bridges are rather accurately accounted for in the calculation methodology.Window specifications are also demanding. A common specification is for U=0.15 (0.8 W/m2 K) or less for windows. It is not clear how to translate these values to North America, as the NFRC testing methods generally result in about a 10% increase in heat flow for the same window as compared to European standards. However, to approach these targets windows certainly need to have non-conductive frames (vinyl, wood or fiberglass) and triple-glazing, low-e coatings and gas. In fact, it is very difficult to find commercially-available operable windows that can achieve these specifications, and imported PH-certified windows reportedly cost about twice as much ($90-100 per square foot) as much more readily available triple-glazed fiberglass windows (R6 at $50/sf).The airtightness level of <0.6 [email protected] is also extraordinary. It is achieved in North America by very few homes, and always when built as special custom houses, usually with a very simple plan form and simple roof lines. One Swedish prefabricated house exporter [2] states that it does not recommend Passivhaus standards for any of its house plans other than single-storey ranches because of its experience with the difficulty of reliably meeting the stringent airtightness target with other than the simplest of building shapes. Ventilation and HeatingAlthough it is recommended that the peak heating demand be kept to under 10 W/m2 (3.2 Btu/ft2) this is not mandatory and is based on the desire to heat the house with ventilation air only. However, based on our analysis at BSC, this recommendation is both very difficult to achieve in cold climates (using standard calculation methods), and unnecessary for achieving low annual energy consumption. By using extreme insulation and eliminating safety factors such as thermal mass and internal gains it is possible to reach this low of a heat demand.In Europe, higher ventilation rates are often specified, likely because there is not a long history of providing mechanical ventilation, and past systems did not distribute air to each room. The 2007 Passive House Planning Package (PHPP 2007) recommendation is 30 m3/hr, which is 17.5 cfm/person, whereas ASHRAE 62.2 requires 7.5 cfm/person+0.01 cfm/ft2. The PHPP 2007 also states that the “average air change rate should not fall below 0.3 ACH.” For a 3-bedroom 2000 square foot single family home, this results in a PH ventilation rate of 80 cfm versus 50 cfm (25 l/s) for ASHRAE 62.2-2007. Although this 60% difference is not too large, so many PH have been ventilated at much higher rates that the PHPP 2007 (page 81, section 14.1) warns users not to over-ventilate.The PHPP 2007 also sets the maximum temperature of air delivery be less than 52 °C (126 °F). This limits the heat delivery rate to about 60 Btu/hr per cfm of airflow (126 supply less 70 F return times 1.08 Btu/hr/cfm/F = 60). If the 50 cfm of ventilation air from the 2000 ft2 home were heated to the maximum of 126 °F (52 °C), it could deliver a maximum total of 3000 Btu/hr, or about 15 times less heat than a standard small furnace! This works out to a heat delivery of just 1.4 Btu/ft2 (4.3 W/m2). To deliver the PH maximum heating intensity of 10 W/m2 (3.2 Btu/ft2) with ventilation air would require a ventilation rate of 115 cfm (60 l/s), which is 2.3 times the ventilation rate of ASHRAE 62!If one were to apply such an approach, the over-ventilation would impose a very significant energy penalty for a low-energy house as it is tantamount to using a mechanical system to impose air leakage. It is likely for this reason that the Passivhaus Institut recommends very high efficiency (eg 75-85%) heat recovery ventilators with high efficiency fans. Although the standards for measuring HRV efficiency in Europe are different than North America, it should be clear that a standard 65% efficiency HRV (a typical specification in North America) operating at 50 cfm and 0.6 W/cfm, will use less energy than a very expensive 75% efficient HRV operating at 80 cfm and 0.75 W/cfm. Hence, North American houses ventilated to ASHRAE 62.2 with a standard efficiency (>60%) HRV and efficient fan motors (>1.5 cfm/W) will consume less energy than most Passivhaus-approved ventilation systems. Such HRV/ERV units have been installed in numerous Building America, Energy Star, R2000, and just better homes. The energy savings of an HRV relative to a central fan-integrated ventilation system (i.e. FanCyclers) are small, but for very low-energy buildings in cold climates, an HRV with the specification recommended above can usually reduce primary energy consumption.It should be noted that many North American HRVs consume excessive amounts of electrical energy and should be avoided. Energy Star will soon be limiting the electrical energy draw of HRVs but these requirements will not come into force for several years. Numerous right-sized HRVs (meeting ASHRAE 62.2) with efficient fans (i.e., 0.5 to 0.75 W/ cfm) are available and can be purchased for $500 to 700. In more moderate climates, central fan-integrated ventilation systems (i.e., without heat recovery) consume only very little additional energy than a high performance HRV, but provide equivalent quality ventilation at a fraction of the capital cost.Given the standard rates of ventilation and the occurrence of design temperatures of 0 °F (-18 °C) or lower in parts of the United States and Canada, increasing ventilation rates to allow the use of ventilation air as the only means of heating is at best highly restrictive to a design and at worst simply impractical and antithetical to a low-energy house.There also appears to be an almost dogmatic avoidance of using radiant floors or air-based heating with re-circulating airflows (the two most commonly available heating systems in most parts of North America).Although radiant floors provide “too much” heat in a low energy house, they may be desirable from a comfort perspective, particularly if they are applied to small areas of the home (e.g. under tiled floors in bathrooms and kitchens). That said, radiant floors are rarely the lowest cost approach to space heating.One of the Passivhaus recommendations is that duct air velocity be kept below 3 m/s (588 fpm). In all of our projects, BSC recommends trunk velocities should be kept between 500 and 750 feet per minute and runout / branch duct velocity should be under 500 fpm. These limits save fan energy and reduce noise.Another recommendation common to both Passive Houses and BSC Building America houses is the requirement for defined return air pathways, and the specification of transfer grilles. PassivHaus describes a target pressure drop of 1 Pa, whereas BSC allows up to a 3 Pa pressure drop across grilles. The Passivhaus standard makes no mention of ducts outside the enclosure as this risky practice is almost unknown in Europe.Typical BSC BA low-energy houseNumerous BSC-designed Building America prototype homes have been built in cold climates (Zone 5 and higher) that compare well to the Passivhaus standard in terms of their primary/source energy consumption. That is, they consume perhaps 40 to 60% more than a Passiv Haus, but are more cost-effective. Typically, these houses use a minimum of R-5 (U=0.2) windows (triple-glazed, low-e coated, warm edge spacers), R-10 sub-slab insulation and R-20 wall insulation in a conditioned basement, R-40 above-grade walls and R-60 ceilings (the “5/10/20/40/60” approach). All thermal bridges in these BSC houses are controlled by using insulation on the exterior of the framing. These R-values are comparable, if on the low-end, of the range that PH use.Airtightness levels of 3 [email protected] Pa can regularly be achieved by production builders if airtightness details are tested, and some training and airtightness testing is undertaken. In our experience, and that of others, airtightness levels of 1.5 [email protected] Pa can be reliably achieved if significant effort is taken in designing details for airtightness, and on-going training, testing, and inspection is employed. In the experience of the Building America and the Canadian R2000 program, such airtightness levels are achievable, but with some effort. The biggest obstacle to achieving lower air leakage may be complexity in building shape. Given the state of practice of air barriers and trade skills, the 0.6 [email protected] level demanded by PH is too difficult to achieve for production homes (although achievable in custom homes), and hard to justify in any case given the small incremental benefit to energy, air quality or durability.The BA program expends a significant amount of effort to ensure that a BA house is more durable and healthier than equivalent housing. There is essentially no discussion of durability and little on IAQ in the PH standard: the effect on the durability of exterior building materials when the insulation levels rise to the levels used is not discussed, nor is the need for heightened rain control requirements, although damaging air leakage condensation is likely controlled by the very low acceptable air leakage.Energy Consumption ComparedMeasurements (not the Building America Benchmark assumptions) show that electricity use for appliances and miscellaneous loads can be held to 3000-4000 kWh/year per household in a modest sized, typical home. This can be reduced further by very efficient appliances, exceptional lighting, and by better controls. The reported values for Passivhauses tend to be lower, in the range of 2500 to 3000 kWh/year. These lower levels can be achieved in North American homes, but depend on occupants operating and maintaining the home in a low energy manner.Domestic hot water energy consumption is approximately 3000 – 4000 kWh/year per household in American homes.3 Large variations depend on the lifestyle of the occupants, but this energy use appears to be similar in Passivhauses. If a basement is available, this energy use can be reduced (perhaps by 10-20%) by drainwater heat recovery and reduced (perhaps by 10-20%) by choosing the very lowest hot water use appliances. Again, occupant behavior is critical: a retired couple may use half this energy, whereas a family of five with teenage children can use 50% more. A reasonably priced two-panel flat-plate solar hot water system can provide about 2000 kWh/yr of preheated water to the domestic hot water appliances even in cold climates.Space conditioning and ventilation energy demand for houses built to the low energy standard described above in DOE Climate Zones 5-7 tends to be 10000 to 15000 kWhe for a house with 2000 ft2 living space (54 to 80 kWhe/m2/yr). An upgrade from double to triple-glazed windows (R3.3 to R5 or R6), and the addition of an efficient HRV drops these values by 2000-3000 kWh/yr, and if a south-facing exposed solar lot is available, another 1000-2000 kWh can be reduced. Hence space heating energy values can be reduced to the range of 7000-11000 kWh/yr by some combination of measures that may be available on some lots (full south exposure is often NOT available) and may be cost effective in some situations (triple-glazed windows are not always cost effective).Using a site-to-source (site-to-primary energy to use PH terms) conversion of natural gas to electricity of 3 (which is about mid-way between the German 2.7 value and the US Department of Energy gives as a 3.365 value), the following general energy use profile can be developed for a 25 by 40 ft raised ranch home with a fully finished basement (e.g., a home with 2000 ft2 of conditioned, useable space).The table [See Table 1 below — click image to enlarge] takes mid-range values for energy consumption and converts this energy demand to primary (source) energy use. It assumes the smallest available standard condensing natural gas two-stage furnace with an ECM motor (e.g. Goodman GMH95), a condensing sealed-combustion hotwater heater (such as an AO Smith Vertex, Navien, Quietside, or Viessman VitoDens), an efficient HRV (such as a Fantech VHR704 with an AirCycler controller), Energy Star appliances and all CFL lighting.As can be seen, the source energy consumption, at 158 kWh/m2/yr, exceeds the Passivhaus requirement of 120 kWh/m2/yr (because the German method of floor area calculation is different than that used in North America, the whole house comparison is more accurately 29300 vs 17800 kWh). However, for a further unsubsidized investment of under $20000, a 2.5 kW PV array (which can generate 3250 kWh/yr) can be installed that reduces primary energy consumption by 9750 kWh to close in on the arbitrary (and laudable) Passivhaus energy target. The PV was chosen in this case as it was the least cost approach to achieving the target. In many cases triple-glazed windows and ERV (at an upcharge of $4000-5000 these measures may save 2000-3000 kWh/yr) may be a less expensive approach in conjunction with a 2.0 kW array. PV is currently the most expensive un-subsidized form or renewable energy, often at a cost of 50 to 70 cents per kWh. Many renewable and/or no-carbon sources of electricity (such as wind, bio-mass, tidal, etc) can be produced for 1/2 to 1/3 this cost (see also BSI-026).Some of the PH recommendations require designers to spend more limited resources on conservation that are even more expensive that producing the energy at the very high bar of current PV prices. For example, in a 6000 HDD F climate, switching from a 0.6 W/cfm, 63% efficient Fantech HRV to a PH-certified 80% efficient, 0.75 W/cfm HRV will, even if one uses the same ASHRAE 62.2 50 cfm ventilation rate, saves $11 per year in heating energy at $1.65/therm gas and 15 cent/kWh prices. Even if gas and electric prices triple in the next ten years, it is not feasible that the $1000-$1200 premium commanded by a PH-certified HRV can ever be recouped. Upgrading the 200 square feet (10% of floor area served) of R6 windows (such as Inline fiberglass with argon-filled dual low-e coatings) to R7.1 PH-certified windows (superior performance) might save 250-400 kWh/yr in a 6000 HDD climate, but would command a $10000 premium at current prices. Increasing the R-value of sub-slab insulation from R20 to R40 is another measure that is very expensive.Doubling the insulation levels of the proposed home (i.e., changing the specs to R-10 windows, R-80 walls, R-120 roof, 0.6 [email protected], and a 100% HRV) and increasing airtightness would not necessarily reduce primary energy demand enough to meet the PH energy target. Increasing the insulation, window, and airtightness values to these levels is not only quite expensive, but very architecturally constraining, i.e., dormers, bay windows, etc all become challenging to incorporate and maintain low surface-volume ratios. Even with all of the measures to halve the heating energy demand, the primary energy demand intensity would barely drop below 120 kWhe/m2/yr (the PH energy target).In DOE Climate Zone 6 or 7, the peak heating demand of the extreme R-10/R-80/R-120 specification would remain above the 10W/m2 (3.2 Btu/ft2 or 6400 Btu/hr) PH recommendation without relying on occupant producing average heat (eg not below average, with one person at home) and thermal mass, and 50 cfm of ventilation airflow would not be sufficient to provide space heating on a design 0 °F or -10 °F night (that is, the heat loss would need to be lowered to 3000 Btu/hr for ventilation air to provide heating). As the cost of an efficient furnace (described above) is less than about $2500 installed (plus ductwork, which is largely needed for ventilation anyway), and smaller capacity furnaces cost no less, there are essentially no capital cost savings to reducing space heating energy demands.4From a point of view of the wise use of capital, the Passivhaus approach in cold-climate zones of North America can lead to more expensive, less architecturally flexible, and even potentially more energy intensive houses than a more flexible approach that focuses only on the least cost, most durable means of achieving a primary energy use per area target value. Perhaps the most important contribution made by the PH standard to low-energy North American housing is that one cannot simply buy $200 000 worth of PV panels to meet the target, as too many net zero homes have done.ConclusionsHomes in cold climates (DOE Zones 5-7) that employ:minimum R-5:10:20:40:60 enclosure,1.5 [email protected] airtightness or better,condensing (>95%) gas furnaces with ECM fan motors,right-sized (ASHRAE 62.2) efficient (> 65%, <0.6 W/cfm) HRVscondensing (>92%) hotwater natural gas water heatersappliances in the top 10% of Energy Star combined with CFL lightingdeliver total energy and environmental performance that approaches the Passivhaus standard in cold climates. Such houses depart in relatively minor ways from standard North American construction, accommodate a broader range of architectural styles, can be modified easily for different climate zones, and can even be built by production builders.Achieving the specific Passivhaus target of 15 kWh/m2/yr for heating on site energy use, results in investment of materials and money that often will exceed other less costly and environmentally impactive solutions. Achieving the equally arbitrary 120 kWh/m2/yr has more direct environmental benefits than the heating target, but may best (i.e., with least cost and environmental damage) be achieved using some on-site or renewable off-site power generation.As new clean, local, and renewable energy sources come on line over the next 25 years and become more affordable than current PV prices, it is unlikely that the extreme conservation measures taken by Passivhaus to meet the specific requirements will be considered an optimal deployment of resources for cold climate housing. Read a response to this article by Marc Rosenbaum and David White. References“An Interview with Wolfgang Feist”, Energy Design Update, Aspen Publishers, Vol. 28, No. 1, January 2008.Passive House Planning Package 2007/1-E, Passivhaus Institut, Darmstadt Germany, 2007.“Certification as Quality Approved Passive House: Criteria for Residential-Use Passive Houses”, June 18, 2007, Passivhaus Dienstleistung GmbH.The best source of information is the official website of the Passivhaus Institut, and Footnotes1. Energy Design Update. “An Interview with Wolfgang Feist” Aspen Publishers, Vol. 28, No. 1, January 2008.2. Scandinavian House accessed from 2009.07173. kWh is used as the unit of energy in this article. One kWh = 3412 Btu. One therm of gas = 29.3 kWh.4. European quality boiler heating systems are quite different as the typical cost is over $20,000 installed, and thus avoiding their use is a major capital cost saving.last_img read more

Window Reflections Can Melt Vinyl Siding

first_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in UPDATED September 3, 2013 In almost every corner of the U.S., reports are increasing of vinyl siding that has been melted by sunlight bouncing off nearby windows. This melted-siding pandemic makes vinyl manufacturers very nervous — so nervous that the topic is rarely discussed.Most reported cases involve siding that melts, gets replaced, and then melts a second time. One possible reason for the apparent increase in cases of melted siding is the increasing use of high-performance glazing.Arlene Taraschi, a homeowner in Delanco, New Jersey, described her melted siding in a letter to a Q-and-A column in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Two years ago, my husband and I purchased a new, Pulte-built home in South Jersey. After a few months we noticed the vinyl siding on one side of the house seemed to be dented in a diagonal pattern. The siding contractor replaced the siding on the entire side of the house. This was done last January, and by February the denting pattern began again. We were told at this time that it was because of the reflection of the sun’s rays from our neighbor’s house. Pulte has termed this melting of the siding ‘thermal distortion,’ and refuses to correct the problem.”As Taraschi’s case makes clear, these cases aren’t just public relations nightmares — they’re legal nightmares. Arlene’s husband, Carl Taraschi, told me, “I’ve sued Pulte, the siding installer, and the siding manufacturer.”Since 2007, when I first reported on cases of siding melted by window reflections, I’ve collected homeowner reports of the phenomenon from 16 states (Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington).Danny Winters works for Cimarron Homes, a builder in Durham, North Carolina. Winters told me, “I think it is… Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.center_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberslast_img read more