OAKLAND — Attorneys representing the city of Oakland and Alameda County have signed off on the latest version of a lease agreement for the Raiders to play at the Coliseum in 2019, a source familiar with the negotiations said.It remains unknown if the Raiders have agreed to the deal, and fans won’t have an answer until next week at the earliest.Under the proposed lease, the Raiders will pay $7.5 million, plus about $1.2 million they owe from previous parking fees to play nine home games in …
A Maryland-based architect-developer goes green on an eight-home project in the Washington suburbsLike most urban and suburban regions in the U.S., the Washington, D.C., area has a fair amount of decent looking housing stock that is, in most cases, green-challenged. But one architect-developer in the D.C. area has begun an eight-home project intended to change how builders and remodelers in and around the nation’s capital think about energy efficient and sustainable construction.The first house to be built at Eco-Estate @ Briggs Chaney, in Montgomery County, Maryland, will be 10,000 sq. ft. and by far the largest of the eight homes – a model that will show how green technology and strategy can be applied effectively even to a home that, by green standards, is considerably oversized.“The objective of this project is to build within the natural habitat, minimally impact the environment through use of sustainable design (and) green construction techniques, and to raise awareness of getting off the grid,” architect and developer Nea Maloo, principal of Silver Spring, Md.-based Showcase Architects & Developers, told Builder magazine.Showcase backed up its promise to “minimally impact the environment” in part by preserving all the trees on the 1.1-acre site and by relocating one of the site’s inhabitants, a 1940s Cape Cod, to the rear of the property, where it will be modified and used as a guesthouse.The big house – with five bedrooms, five baths, two kitchens, two ADA-compliant bathrooms, and high ceilings – will incorporate universal design principals to accommodate a range of contingencies, including aging-in-place preferences.The construction and operation phases of Eco-Estate’s big house, meanwhile, will apply several green-friendly systems and techniques, including a ground-source heat pump (which, though built for the big house, likely will be used to service all eight homes); an SIP exterior; an in-floor radiant heat system in the northern portions of the home; a roof garden; wood flooring cut from a plantation-grown eucalyptus hybrid; low-VOC finishes; low-flow toilets; and a comprehensive effort to recycle and reuse scrap materials, including leftover brick, limestone, drywall, roofing material, and wood.
RELATED ARTICLES Radiant-floor heating systems are unobtrusive because the plastic tubing that distributes hot water around the house is buried in or under the floor. Homeowners like that. But because there are no air ducts with a radiant-floor system, air conditioning must be added separately.That’s the situation Lance Peters faces as he plans a new, two-story house in Ottawa (what Peters assumes is the U.S. equivalent of Climate Zone 6 or 7). He’s currently planning to use hydronic in-floor heat on all three levels of the house, plus either a heat-recovery or an energy-recovery ventilator with its own ductwork.“The house will be superinsulated (~R-40 walls, R-60 attic, R-20-30 below grade) with southern exposure and proper window shading to limit solar radiation,” Peters writes in a Q&A post at GBA. “Finished plans should be around 2,500 square feet. A large portion of the second floor will be open to the first floor (above the living and dining room areas and main staircase), leading me to think ductless minisplits would be a bad idea.” All About Radiant FloorsCalculating Cooling LoadsHeat Pumps: The BasicsAre Affordable Ground-Source Heat Pumps on the Horizon?Heating a Tight, Well-Insulated House Designing a Good Ventilation System Peters would like to use the ducts for his heat-recovery ventilator to supply cool air in the summer. “It would be nice to avoid doubling up on the amount of ductwork running through the house,” he says.Is that plan feasible? That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight. Have you considered a ground-source heat pump?For Andrew Bater, there’s nothing new about the advice at GBA to steer clear of hydronic heat. “Welcome to the loneliest fraternity here on GBA,” he tells Peters.Peters hasn’t mentioned what the source of hot water for his radiant-floor system will be, and Bater offers his own experience with a ground-source heat pump.“Our house is heated and cooled by a ground-source (geothermal) heat pump,” he writes. “We make hot water in the winter and chilled water in the summer. We have two levels of in-slab heat and one second-story area with panel radiators. Like your home, our second story is partially open to the first floor.“For summer air-conditioning, chilled water runs through a Unico high velocity fan coil that feeds a main trunk spine,” Bater continues. “Most rooms have one, two, three, or more flexible takeoffs from that spine.”Bater believes high-velocity air conditioning and radiant-floor heat is a “somewhat common” approach in parts of the western U.S.Steven Knapp, however, adds a cautionary footnote about ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs): they’re expensive, and they don’t always work as well as homeowners would like.“My development requires spec homes to be GSHPs, and most of the new homes are specs,” Knapp says. “Based on conversations with neighbors, there seem to be quite a few comfort and reliability issues. I considered installing a GSHP myself but opted for an air-source heat pump at one-third the cost. This savings meant I could do a bit more to improve the performance of the structure, which also further reduced my heating and cooling requirements.” A heat pump has lots of potentialIf Peters heats the water for his hydronic system with a heat pump (air-source or water-source), it can be reversed in summer to produce chilled water, says Charlie Sullivan. In that case, a single central fan coil could distribute conditioned air via ductwork, or he could use mini fan-coil units, such as those made by Chiltrix, HTP, and Jaga.“You have to insulate the chilled water pipes well to prevent condensation on them, and finding an installer who gets that is hard, but once you get over that hump, installing the hydronic distribution system is easier than installing ducts,” Sullivan says.“Given that most of the load is latent (dehumidification), it’s actually quite attractive to put a chilled-water coil on the incoming HRV air,” Sullivan continues. “When that incoming air has higher humidity than your interior air, you can remove a kilogram of water vapor from it at lower energy cost than removing a liter of water from the interior air. And it’s satisfying to stop the humidity from entering, rather than removing it after it enters. That’s probably all you need for cooling.” Use an air-source heat pump for both heating and coolingOne of several types of air-source heat pumps would be a good choice for a superinsulated house, GBA senior editor Martin Holladay suggests. There are three basic varieties: a conventional air-source heat pump with ductwork to distribute the conditioned air; a ducted minisplit using a smaller, more localized duct system; or a ductless minisplit.“Once you’ve installed your air conditioning system, you can use the heat pump for heat as well,” he says. “That means you don’t need any in-floor radiant heat. This approach saves many thousands of dollars.”Other GBA readers advise Peters that ductless minisplits work well in houses with open floor plans, as well as those with spaces that open from one level to the next.“Typically, an open floor plan is favorable for a centrally located ductless mini-split because there is so much natural air circulation around the house,” writes Reid Baldwin. He adds that if cooling loads are less than 10,000 Btu per hour, Peters might be able to use a Minotair multifunction air exchanger for heating, cooling, and ventilation.Dana Dorsett agrees that a minisplit should be effective for cooling in a house with multiple levels. He cites one house in Minneapolis that is cooled with a single 1.5-ton minisplit head on the upper level near the top of the stairwell. The house is heated with hydronic radiant floors using an electric boiler (at time-of-use rates.)“Even though the minisplit can deliver a large fraction of the heat, it isn’t distributed well,” he says. “When the owner is going to be away for more than a day he turns off the radiant, lets the minisplit run as freeze-up control.”Dorsett adds that determining cooling loads with a Manual-J calculation or its equivalent is important for getting the equipment sized correctly. “Superinsulation does a lot more for reducing the peak heating loads than it does for the cooling loads, which are often dominated by solar gains through the windows,” he says.Dorsett adds these thoughts: “The sensible cooling loads aren’t very severe in Ottawa, with a 1% outside design temperature of 83°F (28°C), but there is also a real latent load (21 grains @ 50% RH). The higher the ventilation rate with the HRV, the higher the latent load, and it will be important for comfort and dust-mite control to dial back the ventilation rates a bit when the outdoor dew points are north of 56°F (13°C), which is most of the time in the July-August time frame, since the sensible load may not be high enough that the cooling system will dehumidify sufficiently. Right-sizing a modulating AC for the load will make a real difference on that front.” Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA technical director Peter Yost added:Given that I live quite comfortably in southern Vermont with hydronic baseboard heat and no real air conditioning, I decided to see what Climate Consultant 6 (CC6) would show in terms of space conditioning strategies for Ottawa, Canada, about 6 hours to the north and west of us. If you’re not familiar with the free software, take a look at this blog or simply download the latest version here.Each of the screenshots from CC6 (below) shows delivered thermal comfort (per ASHRAE Standard 55); hourly temperature/relative humidity dots that are green represent “comfortable” and red dots are “uncomfortable.” The difference from screen to screen represents the highlighted Design Strategies in the upper left-hand box.For the first screenshot (see the first image on the left at the bottom of this page) with just “Comfort” highlighted, the house will be deemed comfortable only 6.1% of the time without any active strategies.The second screenshot (Image #3) is not surprising for Ottawa; adding space heating adds 86.4% to the green-dot comfortable total, resulting in 92.5% comfortable hours. The radiant floor heating system will deliver on these hours.Here is where it gets interesting:The next screenshot (Image #4) shows active heating and cooling, while Image #5 shows active heating and fan cooling. Image #6 shows active heating and natural ventilation cooling. All of these HVAC strategies deliver around the same level of comfort: between 97% and 98% of the time.Image #7 (active heating and dehumidification only) delivers a total of 95.5% comfort. Presumably the added 3% for dehumidification only is shoulder season moisture removal, when you don’t need cooling for comfort.Image #8 (active heating, active cooling, and dehumidification) delivers 100% comfort.So, for year-round comfort every hour in the year in Ottawa, you may need both stand-alone dehumidification as well as active cooling. Active cooling alone does not do any better than either type of ventilation cooling — natural or fan-generated. Depending on your budget, the house design, and your own standards for thermal comfort, maybe you don’t need active cooling at all.
A 10-day-old infant who was injured during cross-border firing in Poonch sector on Sunday has succumbed to the injuries at a hospital there.“The baby was undergoing treatment but unfortunately he succumbed [late on Sunday],” Deputy Commissioner Poonch Rahul Yadav said.The infant and his mother, Fatima Jan, were injured in cross-border firing in Shahpur area of Poonch district on Sunday night.The baby was yet to be named, according to the family.According to officials, the Pakistani army started firing and mortar shelling around 7.30 p.m. in Bandi Chechian, Karmara and Kerni areas of Poonch sector on the Line of Control. “A total of three persons were treated at the Poonch hospital,” the official said.
Story Highlights ODPEM commended on its drive to not just focus on disaster response, but on building the resilience of communities Just under $140 million has been allocated by Government for drain cleaning this year in preparation for the Atlantic hurricane season and to guard against flooding.This was disclosed by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, at a briefing at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday, September 12, to look at Jamaica’s state-of-readiness for a hurricane.The event, hosted by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), was held on the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Gilbert.Mr. Arscott informed that most of the drains across the country “have substantially been prepared and I think we will be in a good position if we have any kind of flood events to be as best prepared as we can.”He stressed that the issue of the dumping of garbage in drains, gullies, river ways and open lots, “is something that we are going to address very seriously as a country”, reminding that he has already warned that the fines for these breaches are going to be severe.He further commended ODPEM on its drive to not just focus on disaster response, but on building the resilience of communities.“We have to work to ensure that the resilience is in-built in what we do and our citizens are part and parcel of trying to mitigate some of the problems,” he said.Acting Director General of ODPEM, Richard Thompson,said that greater attention is being placed on disaster prevention and mitigation. “We are doing a lot of work in the communities where we are putting a lot of micro mitigation projects (in place),” he said.He noted that under the Building Disaster Resilient Communities (BDRC) project, ODPEM has worked in many communities for the past five years to strengthen their ability to withstand disasters.In the meantime, Meteorologist, Evan Thompson, informed the country is “not entirely out of the woods” in terms of continued weather developments.“We are expecting that the rest of September, going into October, going into November, will have increased activity in comparison to what we experienced in the first three to four months,” he said.Today’s briefing reflected on the devastation caused by the eight-hour-long category 4 hurricane. The event also sought to examine Jamaica’s current state-of- preparedness from a sectorial perspective. The country is “not entirely out of the woods” in terms of continued weather developments The rest of September, going into October, going into November, will have increased activity
EDMONTON – Scientists say they have identified the world’s oldest lizard fossil — a discovery that sheds light on the evolution of lizards and snakes.The fossil, which is 240 million years old, is called Megachirella wachtleri and is believed to be the most ancient ancestor of scaled reptiles known as squamates. The conclusion is based on an analysis of data from both living and extinct reptiles.The research by scientists in Alberta — as well as in Australia, Italy and the United States — was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.“It’s a fossil lizard that we found to be the oldest-known lizard on the planet,” said Tiago Simões, a PhD student in the University of Alberta’s biological sciences department and the study’s lead author.The specimen is 75 million years older than thought when it was first described in 1993, he said.Simões said it fills a gap in understanding the evolution of lizards and snakes.There are about 10,000 species of squamates around the world, and scientists say they are still learning about the early stages of the animals’ evolution.Researchers initially thought the fossil, which was found in northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, was related to but not actually a lizard.Further analysis, however, determined it to be the oldest relative of existing lizards and snakes, which, Simões pointed out, are essentially limbless lizards.He said researchers in the last four years compiled the largest dataset ever. It included micro CT scans, photographs and molecular analysis rather than relying on previous research.“We are sure it’s a lizard by the particular combination of features,” said Simões.Some of those features include the shape of bones in the brain, shoulder and trunk of the fossil. The results indicate a more gradual evolution than previously thought.“It’s important … to understand how such a diverse and important component of the modern biological world originated,” said Simões. “There has been a lot of hot debate in the past.“For the first time, we are providing agreement.”He said it’s also valuable to know how invertebrates evolved during drastic shifts in environmental conditions.“One of the things we learned in this study was that most of the larger groups of reptiles were already present in the Permian period, which means they were present and evolved before the largest mass extinction in the history of the planet.”The Permian mass extinction killed about 90 per cent of the Earth’s species.