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…in brief

first_img Comments are closed. This week’s news in briefUnions told to focus The new Trade and Industry Secretary has told unions to stop focusing on jobprotection and start concentrating on helping members compete in the employmentmarket. At the AEEU conference in Blackpool, Patricia Hewitt said, “Thereis no such thing as a job for life, but there can be employability forlife.”  www.aeeu.org.ukBlunkett’s permit plan Plans by the new Home Secretary to introduce a work permit system linked toskills shortages have been welcomed by the CBI. David Blunkett is consideringeither an Australian-style points system or the US green card regime. The HomeOffice said it was too early to say which option was favoured by theGovernment.  www.home-office.gov.ukSad staff work best Unhappy employees are more productive than their happy colleagues, claims astudy. Research from the University of Alberta, Canada, says sad staff makehalf as many mistakes and devote more energy to their work than their happiercounterparts. Co-author Robert Sinclair said, “Sad people devote moreenergy to their work in order to distract themselves from their feelings.”  www.ualberta.caGlaxo cuts 1,000 jobs Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is to cut 1,000 jobs in the UK. Thecompany intends to cut 500 jobs at its Liverpool plant, and 400 at a site inCounty Durham. “We are committed to providing extensive support toaffected employees and their communities,” said Tim Tyson, president ofglobal manufacturing and supply at GSK.  www.gsk.com Related posts:No related photos. …in briefOn 19 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Wheeler to remain HSU head coach through 2018 season

first_imgHumboldt State has postponed its search for a new head football coach, deciding instead to retain interim head coach Damaro Wheeler through the end of the year.According to an HSU news release on Friday, “recent events caused HSU’s Office of Faculty Affairs and Human Resources, in consultation with the CSU Office of General Counsel, to call an end to the process.”The news release did not say what those recent events were.Earlier this week, two finalists pulled their name from consideration …last_img

The Robben Island Bible and the SA story

first_img21 December 2012The liberation leaders and activists who served on Robben Island prison came alive on a London stage in July 2012 in a staged reading of The Robben Island Bible – inspired by a disguised copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare – that highlighted the power and resonance of the South African story.The reading of the script by Matthew Hahn, an American-born playwright and drama lecturer who has interviewed eight of the surviving Robben Island prisoners, took place at the Southbank Centre, one of the world’s leading entertainment centres, in an event co-sponsored by Brand South Africa.At the centre of The Robben Island Bible story are the men who were forced to work long hours chipping stones from the island quarry over three decades. But in their spare time they debated strategy to overthrow apartheid, and eventually studied and read whatever they could find to assist in the process.‘The Bible by William Shakespeare’One of the books that they read and debated for many hours was a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare which was sent to Sonny Venkatrathnam, a prisoner from the Unity Movement in the 1970s who lives with his wife and family in Durban, by his wife Theresa.The book was initially impounded but later returned to Venkatrathnam when he convinced a sympathetic warder that it was the “the Bible by William Shakespeare’. Coming from the Hindu faith, Venkatrathnam later disguised the cover of the book with Diwali (Hindu festival of light) greeting cards.The book became one of the most treasured documents on the island.Six months before he left the island in 1977 Venkatrathnam asked his 32 fellow- prisoners in the single-cell section which included the most senior leadership figures of the liberation movements, to choose their favourite passage from Shakespeare and sign their name alongside their chosen quote.Julius Caesar, Hamlet and The Tempest emerged as the most popular and keenly debated texts, focusing on issues such as loyalty, betrayal and assassination and what the legacy would be of the assassination of evil dictators.Robben Island’s ‘Reading Revolution’The staged reading of The Robben Island Bible was preceded by a passionate introduction to the evening by South African author Ashwin Desai, who recently published Reading Revolution: Shakespeare on Robben Island (Unisa press, 2012).As Desai notes in his book: “There was a camaraderie on the island, political discussions amid the struggle to survive. For Venkatrathnam, there was Shakespeare.”Venkatrathnam’s interest in Shakespeare had been intensified by an essay he wrote at university on the jesters in Shakespeare’s plays.Desai: “The prison setting suddenly made so many lines resonate with new meaning.”Following the staged reading was a lively panel chaired by South African actress Pamela Nomvete, with Hahn and Desai and one of the actors, South African-born Vincent Ebrahim of the Kumars fame, with many questions from the packed audience of some 300 people. The conversations went well into the night at a reception hosted by Brand South Africa.Desai spoke about the importance of the Robben Island prisoners as an example to the youth of today and their relevance to the current heated debates going on about the form and structure of South Africa’s future economic and political models and the need to honour the spirit, integrity and vision of the men on Robben Island.Inclusivity and tolerance was a strong theme, and it was moving in the extract from Hahn’s script to see the full spectrum of liberation leaders presented discussing their chosen quotes from Shakespeare: Eddie Daniels from the Liberal Party; Saths Cooper from the black consciousness movement; Neville Alexander from the Unity Movement; Theo Cholo, Michael Dingake, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela from the ANC; Kwede mohlobe (Kailipi) from the Pan Africanist Congress.Desai is passionate that the example of the Robben Islanders should be used to spark a reading revolution in South Africa which informs the debate about South Africa’s future in the same way that the study of Shakespeare and other texts on Robben Island informed the anti-apartheid struggle and helped win freedom for all.Playwright ‘inspired’ by Robben Island survivorsHahn, who first read about the Robben Island Bible in a brief mention in the late Anthony Sampson’s authorised biography of Mandela, admits that his life has been changed by the inspiration he has experienced interviewing eight of the surviving Robben Island prisoners.He visited South Africa again recently to pursue his vision of drama and the arts being used as a major tool for development of the country and its people.Hahn’s staged reading was first performed at the Richmond theatre in London in 2009 in collaboration with iconic South African actor John Kani.Greg Doran, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his partner Sir Anthony Sher, were instrumental in getting the Robben Island Bible to Stratford- on-Avon for a major Shakespeare exhibition in 2006.Doran’s production of Julius Caesar, the first-ever RSC production with an all-black cast, drew capacity audiences in British theatres this year, and a filmed version has been shown on BBC television.Shakespeare was at the centre of Britain’s Cultural Olympiad, an arts and culture outreach which coincided with the hosting of the 2012 Olympics in London.Robben Island bible at British Museum exhibitionThe Robben Island bible, on loan to the British Museum, was a centre-piece in the hugely successful exhibition “Shakespeare: Staging the World”, which ran at the British Museum from 19 July through to 25 November.The internationally renowned director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, focused in May on the Robben Island bible in the last of a 20-part series of BBC radio programmes highlighting 20 objects on display in the Shakespeare exhibition.He said it was one of the most powerful examples of Shakespeare’s legacy that his writings could be of such influence in a political prison at the southern tip of Africa more than 400 years after his birth.Dora Thornton, the curator of the exhibition, noted: “The book was used in the same way as the Bible has been used down the ages: as a constant reference for debating the moral issues of the day.”Telling South Africa’s unique storyThe engagement of the audience at the Southbank Centre was a powerful reminder that the South African story is the rock on which the South African brand is built and the medium through which South Africans’ unique experience of turning adversity into triumph can be best communicated globally.We may have gold and amazing scenery, mountains, sunshine, beaches and game parks, and we are thankful for that. But it is the people of South Africa who move and inspire the world with their achievements, human spirit and determination not to settle for second best however difficult it may be getting there.Just as the writings of Shakespeare resonate around the world 400 years after his life, so will the readings and debates of the Robben Island prisoners will resonate for centuries to come.All the more so when we learn to take ownership of the richness of our own heritage and treasure and showcase priceless symbols and objects such as the Robben Island bible, which is becoming such a source of inspiration to audiences in Britain and the rest of the world.John Battersby is UK country manager of Brand South Africa and a former newspaper editor and foreign correspondent. Brand South Africa co-sponsored the Robben Island Bible event, which was programmed by the Southbank Centre and the Nelson Mandela Centre at the Museum for African Art in New York City.last_img read more

South Africans making it big abroad

first_imgPeople like Charlize Theron and Trevor Noah have had incredible success in the US. They are the leaders of a growing pack: from writers to artists, there are other South Africans who are also leaving an impression through their work. The Reactive, by South African author Masande Ntshanga, will be published in the US, and artist Zanele Muholi [pic] has an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. (Image: Masande Ntshanga website and Lipstick Alley)• The South African who dresses the walkers • Watch: Trevor Noah, new host of the Daily Show • South African artists draw international interest • Comrades legends speak about their memorable races • Jazz trumpets the notes of freedom Priya PitamberWhen you think of South Africans making their names in the US, Charlize Theron, the Oscar-winning actress, and Trevor Noah, the comedian and imminent host of The Daily Show after Jon Stewart’s departure, come to mind.But there are also other South Africans making their mark abroad in various creative fields.Zanele MuholiArtist Zanele Muholi prefers to be called a “visual activist” because she combines her skills and talent in video and photography with human rights activism. She wants to increase awareness of the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in South Africa.Her exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, Isibonelo/Evidence, closes on 1 November. Isibonelo means “example” in Muholi’s mother tongue, isiZulu.“The exhibition presents 87 works created between 2007 and 2014,” notes the museum, “including Muholi’s Faces and Phases portrait series, which uses first-hand accounts to speak to the experience of living in a country that constitutionally protects the rights of LGBTI people but often fails to defend them from targeted violence.”The New Yorker magazine described it as a major show in the country.“I’m one of us,” Muholi said. “I’m not observing from a distance. It’s not just me who is here at the museum; we are here. My photographs portray people who are participating in making their own history.”Muholi grew up in the township of Umlazi, in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal. In 2006, she took a photograph of her friend Busi Sigasa. Sigasa was raped – by male friends who wanted to cure her of her of being a lesbian, in what is often termed “corrective rape” in South Africa – and she contracted HIV. She died less than a year after the photo was taken. “In the past eight years, more than two hundred and fifty people have gazed frankly, shyly, proudly, defiantly at Muholi’s camera,” noted The New Yorker.The online art collection resource, Artsy, describes Muholi’s portraits as sensitive and a challenge to the stigma surrounding the South African LGBTI community. It says her work “debunks the common rhetoric that homosexuality is un-African, and addresses the preponderance of hate crimes against homosexuals in her native country”.Masande Ntshanga Masande Ntshanga’s debut novel has been picked up by an American publishing house to be published in US. (Images: Random House Struik)On his website, author Masande Ntshanga wrote that he was pleased when his novel, The Reactive, was picked for publication in US by publishing house, Two Dollar Radio. “They’ve also optioned the film rights,” he wrote. He told Eastern Cape daily newspaper The Daily Despatch that he had admired books from the publisher.Ntshanga’s debut novel tells the story of three friends who are in the business of selling antiretrovirals (ARVs) illegally. The main protagonist, Lindanathi, carries a guilty burden after his brother passes away. The Reactive’s themes are family, secrecy, chemical abuse and redemption.Two Dollar Radio’s acquiring editor, Eric Obenauf, has nothing but praise for the novel. “I loved the energy, the thrust of the prose, the voice, the descriptions, and the emotional gut-punch of the story,” he said.Ntshanga told literary website Aerodrome he always had a restless imagination. “From a young age, I had a strong interest in creating things, which was mostly in the form of reproducing the images around me,” he said of his drawings.“It was only when a friend of mine and I started composing comics to curb our boredom in primary school, that I got introduced to narrative and its power to reform and recast reality.”He completed his Master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Cape Town, which he said was instrumental in his growth as a writer. “I got to meet people who helped me along with my writing, as well as providing me with a period of focused reading.”Ntshanga has been shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg debut prize and the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge fiction prize. His short story Space won the PEN International New Voices Award and has been nominated for the 2015 Caine Prize.“In terms of recognition, though, I feel like we’re at the point where different parts of the world are starting to pay attention to contemporary South African writing, which is a good development,” he said.last_img read more

Finishing Touches for a Pretty Good House in New Hampshire

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of blogs chronicling the design and construction of a house owned by Brian Post and Kyra Salancy. The first blog in the series was titled Building a Small House in the White Mountains. LandscapingWith the solar equipment installed, it was now time for some landscaping so that our yard wouldn’t be a big sand and dirt pit. We ordered a significant amount of loam and rented a tracked skid-steer to move and spread it, making sure that the finished grade sloped away from the house. We used leftover round rock (from the driveway fill project) and ordered crushed rock to make a drip edge around the house.The plan was to use “no mow” grass seed from the Vermont Wildflower Farm in a zone directly around the house. We didn’t want much manicured lawn, so around that we planned to use a mix of grass and wildflower seed. Before we seeded, a strong summer thunderstorm came through; it didn’t impact the loam much, but caused some erosion in other unstabilized areas of the lot. We decided that another summer thunderstorm could ruin a newly seeded lawn, so we ordered “tall fescue” sod for the zone around the house. It took a very tiring full day to install, but was well worth the added cost (see Image #12).In the fall of 2015, we hired our site work contractors to come back and complete various landscaping tasks, including some final lot grading and drainage work, driveway and parking refinements, and a rough rock pathway. Kyra and I completed the pathway with smaller rocks found on site, crushed rock, and posts with solar-powered motion-sensor lights (see Image #13).We also put down grass and wildflower seed in the non-lawn parts of the property just before the first snowfall in late December 2015. We’ll need to do some touch-up work and more seeding in the spring of 2016, but hopefully will have some nice grass and wildflowers coming up in 2016. Energy Star Homes certificationIn early February 2015 we had our final Energy Star inspection, which included the final blower door test (see Image #3, below). The air leakage rate was 83 cfm at 50 Pascals (0.38 ACH at 50 Pascals). This means the house is very well air sealed. According to the HERS rater (who has tested over 600 homes), our house was “possibly the tightest house I’ve ever measured.” RELATED ARTICLES Blower Door BasicsAll About RadonMartin’s 10 Rules of LightingAn Introduction to Photovoltaic SystemsMaking Room for a PV Array Getting Power From Solar Equipment When the Grid is DownUp Hill House Brian Post is a photographer and website builder. He lives in Jackson, New Hampshire with his wife, Kyra Salancy, and a fluffy black dog. When not working on their house, Brian and Kyra enjoy climbing and skiing in the White Mountains. Building science geeks and homeowners can get really obsessed with blower door results. It’s a fun number to pay attention to… but in the end is just one of many measurements that can help energy efficiency.According to the final Energy Star report, the house received a HERS Index of 38 and a “5 Stars Plus” rating under Energy Star Version 3 — although there was a mistake in the report stating that we had a heat-pump water heater. (In fact, we just have a standard electric-resistance model.)I mentioned this to the HERS rater and he said that would impact our HERS Index by 3 to 5 points, so our realistic Index is in the low 40s. Regardless, we had a positive experience with the Energy Star program and received almost $4,000 in rebates.In other good testing news, we received a water report back from the lab and all numbers were well within EPA limits. After all the well drilling stress and large expense of the water system, at least we weren’t getting poisoned. ARTICLES BY BRIAN POST Building a Small House in the White MountainsPouring the Slab and Framing the WallsWindows, Housewrap, and Roofing UnderlaymentSiding and Interior Finish Work in New Hampshire Pine posts and stainless-steel cable for the stair guardKyra and I continued on more interior work. I worked on the stairs, installing a guardrail and handrail. I used stainless-steel cable railing material to finish things off.We installed 6×6 pine posts during the framing stage to support the guardrail. These posts twisted as they dried, and they weren’t installed at an ideal height to meet stair codes, but I made it all work and we like the look (see Image #5, below). Only $145 a square footI have kept track of expenses during the project, although I wasn’t able to keep up with the task of breaking down expenses into detailed categories during the busiest periods.The cost per square foot is in the range of $140 to $145. This range takes into account possible errors in my expense categories. This is based on a gross square footage (1,536 square feet) and includes the building expenses from the foundation through the solar panels, including appliances and finish work.This cost does not include the land and what I would collectively call “site work.” Site work would include expenses like lot clearing, the driveway, grading, septic system design and installation, well drilling and pump installation, hardscaping, and landscaping. Our site work costs were high because it was an undeveloped lot with some challenges, including ledge close to the surface. A combination laundry applianceIn early March, we installed our combination washer/dryer (see Image #6, below). It’s an LG model WM3997HWA, and we’re happy with it. It’s nice to have a single laundry appliance, and since it’s a condensing dryer, there was no need to install any exhaust ducting.In more than nine months of use, I think we’ve used the dryer function less than five times. We either hang our clothes outside or inside, depending on the weather. Editor’s note: This is Part 5 of a multi-part blog series on the construction of Brian and Kyra’s home in New Hampshire. Brian hopes to write at least one more blog in this series — one on “lessons learned.” Radon levels are highOf course, when it comes to building a house, all the testing news can’t be good. I plugged in the Safety Siren Pro radon monitor on the first floor in early March and the first readings (after two days of collecting data) were well above the EPA’s action guideline of 4 pCi/L (see Image #4, below). In fact, the first reading was 24.6 pCi/L.I think this was partially because the monitor was located in a back room with no ventilation and we weren’t running our ventilation 24/7 because we didn’t think it was necessary. We immediately started running one of our bath fans at 30 cfm around the clock, and the number dropped to close to 6 pCi/L after a couple of weeks. I had to move the monitor around because of continued finish work, but as of January 2016, we’re finding that:Spring through fall levels are under 4 pCi/L and less than 2 pCi/L during periods of nice weather when windows are open a lot.In winter, when the house is usually closed up, radon levels range from 4 to 6 pCi/L.I’m currently (January 2016) monitoring radon levels on both floors with Corentium radon monitors. We’ll make a decision about whether we want to do radon mitigation after this winter.It doesn’t look like our radon levels are that bad, but I’d feel more comfortable taking some action because I work from home and spend a lot of time in the house. We now have an exhaust-only ventilation system. We may decide to retrofit the house with an HRV; that change could help lower radon levels. Or it’s possible that we’ll have to resort to sub-slab depressurization to significantly reduce the radon levels.Looking back, I’m kicking myself for not insisting that our foundation/shell contractor and plumber include underslab radon venting that could be used for passive venting or turned into an active system. During my initial building research, I learned that this was a good idea and brought it up with our foundation/shell contractor (and our original builder), but was told that “radon shouldn’t be a problem with a slab.” This was bad advice, especially because Carroll County in New Hampshire is “Zone 1” on the EPA Radon Zones map. Looking back at proposals and quotes, the other foundation/shell contractor we considered did include radon venting plans. The kitchenLiving without a functioning kitchen wasn’t too bad, but Kyra and I made a big push (starting in March) to do the countertops, install the sink, and get a stove running.We considered several types of countertops, but wanted to keep the expense down. Laminate was a contender because it’s the least expensive. I knew laminate countertops had a come a long way and could look good, but I wasn’t sold on it.I looked into a concrete resurfacing product called Deco-Poz, from the company that made the stain and sealer for our concrete floors. It can also be used to refinish countertops or make new ones. We weren’t sure how it would work out, but had seen examples of other people using it and decided to give it a try.We didn’t mix or install any concrete to make our countertops — just Deco-Poz. It comes as a powder that is mixed with a proprietary polymer to produce a slurry that looks like pancake batter.Here are the steps we took:We leveled and installed the base cabinets.We screwed down 1-inch-thick pine “project boards” from the local box store as a substrate.We cut out the sink opening.We screwed 5/4” pine trim boards to the studs at the back for a backsplash substrate.We glued and nailed (with finish nails) pine strips to the front side of the project boards to contain a thin application of Deco-Poz.We performed various steps related to mixing, spreading, and troweling on two thin applications of Deco-Poz (see Image #7, below).We performed sanding and cleanup tasks.We applied Black Granite stain (see Image #8) and many coats of sealer (Eco-Tuff Countertop clearcoat).We hope that our homemade countertop doesn’t self-destruct. The overall consensus is that it worked out, didn’t cost much, and actually looks pretty cool in an artsy DIY sense (see Image #9). There are a couple of hairline cracks in the countertop, but these got filled in with more coats of sealer. There is a larger fracture on the backsplash in the back corner, but it’s hidden by a toaster oven and not super-noticeable.I think using plywood or another non-solid-wood substrate would have reduced the chance of cracks from the expansion and contraction of the boards. Would we use Deco-Poz again? Probably not. When faced with finishing a separate 12-inch-wide section of countertop between the fridge and stove, we used a remnant piece of PaperStone, which was much easier. Living in a house with no functioning kitchen involved many microwave meals, using a sheet of plywood over sawhorses as a table, and washing dishes in the bathroom sink. We got used to it and will look back fondly at the early days living in our house. Many people warned us not to move in while the house was still under construction, but we stayed pretty disciplined on completing tasks.On the exterior, the house was looking really cool in the snow, especially on moonlit nights (see Image #2, below). One full year of occupancyAs I’m writing this post, we’ve lived in the house for just over a year. Overall, it’s working out well. The house is comfortable in both the summer heat and winter cold. We’ve never used the AC, just the dehumidify mode with low fan on the minisplit during stretches of hot and humid weather. In the winter, the whole house stays comfortable with the single minisplit; some outlying and upstairs rooms are 2 to 5+ degrees cooler, though, depending on the severity of the cold. We only turn on the backup electric wall heaters when temperatures are expected to reach -15°F or colder at night.In November 2015, we added an external wall thermostat (Mitsubishi MHK1) for the minisplit heat pump. We added this because it seemed that the temperature we set on the included remote (which operates in conjunction with a temperature sensor on the indoor unit) wasn’t in line with actual room temperatures. I think it’s possible that warm air pools around the indoor unit and doesn’t give the sensor a good portrayal of general room temperature. With the MHK1 now installed, we set it at 68°F and the main downstairs stays very close to that set point. While we haven’t seen extended severe cold yet this winter, my gut feeling is that the MHK1 is a better control method.Besides some relatively minor interior and exterior finish work, we consider the house to be “done.” The only decisions we seem to be facing are: (a) what to do about our elevated radon levels, and (b) whether our ventilation system (an exhaust-only system consisting of a bathroom fan with passive air inlets) is a good long-term fit. The radon situation could affect ventilation system changes, or ventilation changes could affect the radon situation.We recently received our December electric bill, so we have a full year of usage data along with (almost) 6 months of PV production data:Electrical usage, 01/05/2015 to 01/05/2016: 6,255 kWh;Electricity produced by the PV system, 06/11/2015 to 01/05/2016: 4,840 kWh.Theoretically, looking back, if we had a solar array for all of 2015, we would have needed to generate 1,415 kWh from 01/15/2015 to 06/11/2015 to hit net zero for the year. I would imagine that would have been easy to attain, and it’s possible that the array would have generated more than 1,400 kWh in April through early June alone.Looking at usage in future years, I would project that we’ll generally be using about 6,500 kWh annually. This is partially based on the fact that December 2015 was very warm. Other factors: we didn’t have a working stove or laundry early in 2015.The solar installation company projected our annual solar generation at 8,070 kWh. Based on all this, the house should be net-positive on an annual basis, with an excess of at least 1,000 kWh and possibly 1,500 kWh or more. Yes, we could have gone with a smaller PV setup, but we’re happy that we’ll reach and exceed our net-zero goal.I’m currently very happy with my all-wheel drive Subaru Impreza (averaging 34 mpg), but I may give electric cars a closer look as we could install a charging station and take advantage of the excess power. Committing to solarAs we progressed from spring into summer of 2015, we continued on interior work, including finishing more of the concrete floor and hanging downstairs doors.The biggest news was that the installation of our photovoltaic (PV) system was scheduled for early June. We had planned for solar from the start: the house is oriented due south, the roof is an ideal pitch (9/12 or 37 degrees), and all of our mechanical equipment and appliances are electric. We had kept in touch with a regional solar installation company and finally signed a contract in March 2015.During the research, design, and construction phases of our house project, we were inspired by passive house and net-zero concepts, but didn’t have any specific energy efficiency goals. As the build progressed, we realized it might be possible to make the house net-zero, and that became a goal we wanted to reach.When we signed the solar installation contract in March, we had to commit to a system size because of rebate and net-metering application deadlines. The problem was that we only had two months (January and February) of electrical use data while living in the house, so we didn’t know how big of a system we needed to hit net zero.It wasn’t a very scientific approach, but I looked at data from other PV-equipped houses in the Northeast (well, mostly the Uphill House — thanks for the in-depth data!) to see what their electrical use was in other months compared to peak winter months. So, for example, if the July electric use was usually 40% of the peak winter month, I figured that our house might use approximately 400 kWh in the summer months compared to our highest winter months (1,000+ kWh).Based on these projections, we decided to max out our roof space and install twenty-four 280-watt panels. This would be a 6.72-kW grid-tied solar electric system. We really weren’t sure whether this size system would get us to net zero, but I didn’t want to get a smaller system and miss out on the opportunity to hit our goal.The original plan was to install an SMA string inverter that has the ability (through a feature called the “Secure Power Supply”) to supply up to 1,500 watts from the panels if the grid goes down. Due to new electrical codes adopted by the state of New Hampshire, we had to switch to a SolarEdge inverter that had rapid shutdown capability (see Image #11).We were disappointed to lose the Secure Power Supply feature of the SMA inverter, but the SolarEdge system uses “Power Optimizers” connected to each panel. I don’t know the full technical details, but I believe the overall benefit is that these allow each panel to supply power at a lower starting wattage and will help when individual panels are getting varying amounts of sun due to shading or snow. The Secure Power Supply of the SMA inverter may not have been that helpful anyway, because the most critical time for backup power would be at night in the winter.The installation happened over June 3-4 and went smoothly. A crew from the electric utility visited on June 11 to complete the meter swap and turn the system on. Most of the lighting is LEDsI don’t think I mentioned anything about lighting in previous posts, but we had all the light fixtures installed before we moved in. We mostly followed the guidance of our electrician for interior lights; we just have wall sconces plus three strands of cable lights downstairs. For wall sconces, we bought a couple of fixtures that were close to $50 each, but outfitted most areas with $10 jar lights. We like the simple look of them and it kept the lighting budget down.All light fixture bulbs in the house are LED, except for three CFL chain light fixtures in closets and under the stairs.last_img read more

Gavaskar says Pawar promised him extra payments

first_imgGiving a new twist to his payment row with the BCCI, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Wednesday said it was former BCCI President Sharad Pawar who promised “extra payment” to him for his services as an IPL Governing Council member.Gavaskar had on Tuesday hit out at the Cricket Board for not paying him for his role in the IPL Governing Council, a claim which was promptly refuted by the BCCI.In a fresh revelations, Gavaskar said he is now waiting for Pawar to meet current BCCI head Shashank Manohar to work out the matter.”I am now waiting for Mr Sharad Pawar, the then President of BCCI, to arrange a meeting with the current President of BCCI to help untangle and resolve this ‘demanding’ matter, since it was he who made the offer for the extra payment over and above the original amount given to the former players on the Governing Council and on whose word I agreed to come on board the Governing Council,” Gavaskar said in a statement.Gavaskar has found support from suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi, who said the former India captain had always been forthright in his dealings and never known to be a liar.”A lot has been said about Sunny. All I can tell you is that in all my dealings with Sunny, I’ve never known him to be a liar or anything. Sunny has been forthright. I’m sure they’ll sort it out,” Modi said in London.Gavaskar, who was controversially omitted from the IPL’s Governing Council in September this year, claimed he had not been paid for the last three years but Board secretary N Srinivasan rubbished it, saying it was not factually correct.advertisementWith inputs from PTIlast_img read more