Vermont House Wins $10,000 Net-Zero-Energy Prize

first_imgAfter Two Years, NESEA Chooses a WinnerBOSTON, Mass. — An energy-efficient house in Charlotte, Vermont, has won a $10,000 prize offered by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) for the best net-zero-energy building in the Northeast. Completed in August 2007, the 2,700-square-foot home was designed by the homeowners, architects David Pill and Hillary Maharam.Monitoring data from January 2008 to January 2009 has confirmed that the home’s on-site 10-kW Bergey wind turbine produced 17 kWh more energy than the occupants consumed. While Pill and Maraham used 6,269 kWh of energy (6,094 kWh of electricity and the equivalent of 175 kWh of firewood), the wind turbine produced 6,286 kWh.The $40,500 cost of the wind turbine and tower was partially offset by a $12,500 renewable-energy incentive.An all-electric homeSpace heating for the all-electric home is provided by a three-ton Econar ground-source heat pump. The Pill-Maraham house is the fourth house in the country to demonstrate 12 consecutive months of net-zero-energy performance, after the André Rambaud house in Hancock, Mass., the Habitat for Humanity house in Wheat Ridge, Colo., and the Doub/Childs house in Boulder.In a 2008 interview, Pill explained that achieving the net-zero-energy target depends on occupant behavior. “I think a huge piece of this is homeowner awareness,” said Pill. “You could build a hundred energy-efficient houses like this, and each house would have different usage data.” The lure of a $10,000 prize undoubtedly helped everyone in Pill and Maraham’s family to remember to turn out the lights when leaving a room.A controversial prizeNESEA first announced the $10,000 prize for a net-zero-energy house in March 2006. One year later, the only entrant was André Rambaud, whose 1965 off-grid home in Hancock, Mass., is powered by a homemade 8.5-kW micro-hydro system. In a controversial decision, Rambaud was denied the $10,000 prize, despite the fact that he documented several years of net-zero-energy performance.David Barclay, NESEA’s executive director, defended the decision to deny Rambaud the prize. “André Rambaud is a very creative individual, and he has worked to achieve his own energy independence, but his example is an extraordinarily difficult thing to replicate,” said Barclay. “His submission is a really unique and special one, but one that is almost impossible to model.”Rambaud concluded that NESEA was looking for a glitzier house with more up-to-date equipment than Rambaud’s homemade hydroelectric set-up. “What they are looking for is a house they can put on the Internet,” said Rambaud.last_img read more

114 Entrepreneurs On 1 Train For 8 Hours Pitching Ideas

first_imgHow OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Tags:#conferences#start Related Posts How to Get Started in China and Have Success Think an elevator pitch is hard? Try selling your vision with a beer in each hand, balancing in the aisle of a train barreling north at 80 mph. That’s exactly the challenge posed by Geeks on a Train, a veritable Nerd Express from Portland, Ore., to Vancouver, where passengers will “rethink business” among like-minded entrepreneurs and investors. The destination was Dealmaker Media’s GROW 2012 conference, a summit of startup rock stars and wannabe-rock stars raring to pitch, invest and innovate their hearts out in Vancouver.Sprinkled among the travelers were some stand-out personalities that had ample opportunity to shine in the close quarters, including Silicon Valley super angel Dave McClure; Scott Kveton of Urban Airship; Rick Turoczy, curator of the Portland Incubator Experiment and lolcat king Ben Huh, CEO of I Can Haz Cheezburger.The final headcount was a raucous, adventuresome 100+ founders, investors, entrepreneurs, bloggers, developers and designers.  What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… In two packed Amtrak cars, the high-energy crowd buzzed with ideas, mingled in the aisles, donned fake mustaches, arm wrestled, pitched between cars, and told more than one joke at Klout’s expense — all while the train jostled north.We tweeted it up (#GOAT), high spirits intact for the eight-hour ride, even when it was discovered that the train’s beer supply had been sucked dry a mere two hours in.  We pulled into Seattle about four hours in to scoop up the city’s GROW-bound passengers (and, mercifully, to restock its beer supply) before rolling on to the Canadian border.One expertly executed planking (Ben Huh, naturally) and many, many trips to the bistro car later, the geeks were let loose in an unsuspecting Vancouver. For the next three days, they’ll join up with hundreds more of GROW’s attendees for talks, roundtables and networking events with speakers ranging from web commerce solution PayPal to Mountain View incubator 500 Startups, all aimed at making their companies leaner and meaner in order to survive a market that can turn on a dime. And since what happens on Amtrak stays on Instagram (and Twitter, and Facebook…), here’s the evidence.Stay tuned as we’ll be judging GROW’s sure-to-be-epic Startup Smackdown competition, in which a handful of fledgling startups speed-pitch on stage to a split group of investors and tech media, who in turn duke it out over which contenders are buzzworthy. We imagine it will be exactly like The Hunger Games, but with more venture capital at stake.   China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … taylor hatmakerlast_img read more

CAG picks holes in awarding of Games contracts

first_imgThe CAG report on the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which is yet to be tabled in Parliament, indicts the Delhi government for irregularities in the development of infrastructure ahead of the sporting extravaganza. The state had worked on at least 25 roads and bridge-related projects, of which 17 were completed before the Games.The government auditor has focused on seven projects for a detailed review. Of these Rs 2,239-crore projects, six were implemented by the PWD, which is under the Delhi government, and one by the DDA, which is headed by L-G Tejinder Khanna. The CAG points out the bloated contractor’s profit and overhead (CPOH) charges of 37.5 per cent for the projects instead of the CPWD-stipulated 15 per cent.The hiked CPOH led to a higher baseline cost for bidders and indirect loss to the exchequer. In a clear indication that tenders and bids were botched to favour particular contractors, the CAG found that the PWD accepted tender documents which had an extensive use of correction fluids, cuttings and corrections.The report says the PWD not just accepted overwritten, corrected bids but also in at least three instances, the department – which is led by Sheila Dikshit’s close aide Raj Kumar Chauhan – admitted bids on random papers instead of government-approved formats. The Barapullah Nallah flyover project was singled out by the auditors for discrepancies.Bids accepted from the DSC Limited were filed on separate letters instead of formal bidding documents, the report said. The flyover contract was awarded to DSC for packages worth Rs 218.79 crore and Rs 214.92 crore. In another instance, the firm was awarded work for being the lowest bidder for the UP Link Road project. In this case too, the tender was submitted through separate letters instead of the prescribed format.advertisementIt couldn’t be ascertained if these papers had been placed in the file later. The bid for the Ring Road bypass project was also manipulated, as is evident from the corrections in the bid. The exchequer lost Rs 6.23 crore in the process. Causing a loss of another Rs 35 lakh, underweight reinforced steel bars were used on the Ring Road bypass. The government lost an extra Rs 1.1 crore due to post-tender changes in construction of the grade separator at the ISBT Anand Vihar crossing.The auditor also faulted the government with accepting the suspension model for the foot overbridge near the JLN Stadium that collapsed days before the Games. The report pointed out that though the PWD had no experience in such a construction, it went ahead with the design, Even the consultancy offered by the contracted firms and lackadaisical supervision is said to have led to losses.The wrong assessments made by the Delhi government departments are said to have caused losses of at least Rs 3.55 crore.last_img read more

Ministers Hail UWI E-Book Project

first_imgMinister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has hailed the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) electronic book (e-book) initiative, noting that it will save students significant sums in textbook costs. Under the project, being piloted in the medical faculty, students will be able to digitally access all their texts and journals at a fraction of the cost of printed material. Speaking at the official launch on Tuesday, February 19, at the Medical Sciences Building, Minister Thwaites said the initiative must be applauded, as it forms part of the Ministry’s thrust to use technology to improve the education system. “We spend roughly $3 billion a year in this country purchasing school books. The state spends about a third of that and this project represents the application of technology, which will remove the burden of the heavy cost of printed material, which many of our parents can scarcely bear,” he stated. Under the project dubbed: ‘UWI/Total Electronic Solution Tablet (TEST)’, medical students will receive a seven-inch Android 4.0 tablet or SmartTab, made by local company JLMobile, at a cost of US$200. The one time charge covers a seven-month warranty and technical support for the duration of the course. The electronic textbooks are being provided by overseas-based company VitalSource, via its application, Bookshelf. Each student will be provided with 18 of the core medical texts needed to complete their programme at a cost of US$199.76 per year. This sum is a mere fraction of the total cost of purchasing all 18 books in hard copy, as one of the required texts cost about US$234. Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who also attended the launch, congratulated those responsible for what he said was a “tremendous feat”. “I am very pleased that finally, we’re seeing the realisation emerging that throughout Jamaica, we are going to be embracing ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) as the way to enable every single area, whether you are involved in education, social welfare, or the medical field,” he stated. The e-book programme was implemented in a response to the increasing cost of tertiary education, primarily the cost of textbooks in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.   Principal, UWI, Mona, Professor Gordon Shirley said the project is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean and aims to provide students with convenient and cost-effective access to textbooks, and provide for the seamless integration of technology into the teaching and learning processes. He said through the facility, students will be able to access books from any library at Mona and other UWI campuses. “Over 50 per cent of the incoming class has already taken access to this (programme) and we hope, in due course, that 100 per cent of the class will take advantage of it,” he stated. Professor Shirley said all textbooks are available on the tablets and, “because so many students have taken access to it, all faculty members have now had to take access to it.” He said that plans are in place to expand the project across all faculties as the institution seeks to become a digital university. He added that UWI will be partnering with representatives from Jamaica College to introduce the programme to that school, and there are plans to extend it to other secondary institutions across the island.last_img read more