first_img55, of Pleasantville, NJ, died suddenly on June 2, 2017. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Marc immigrated to the United States in 1980 where he resided in Miami Florida and Bayonne before settling in Pleasantville for the past 7 years. He was employed as a bus driver for the Yorkie Bus Company in Egg Harbor Township. Marc was predeceased by his parents Lhrreson and Simone (Bernedette) Anicet and his sister Vivian Samidy. Left to cherish his memory are his 2 daughters, Stephanie and Elizabeth Anicet; 3 sons, Marc Steven, Marc Billy and Marc Anicet; 3 sisters, Monique Anicet, Barcelone Beirette, and Laura Joseph; 3 brothers, Dwight Vivien, Louis Thierie Anicet and Jackson Samidy; Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Funeral arrangements by DWORZANSKI & SON Funeral Home, 20 E 22nd St.last_img read more

Retailers fail to drop into Ocean

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first_imgThe following incidents were reported in the USC Dept. of Public Safety daily incident log between Monday, Jan. 30 and Tuesday, Jan. 31.Crimes against a personAt 9:09 a.m. on Jan. 30, a student reported that he was sexually assaulted near Adams Boulevard and Figueroa Street.At 1:41 a.m. on Jan. 30, a student reported that he was sexually assaulted by another student in the Biegler Hall of Engineering.Crimes against property At 9:44 p.m. on Jan. 30,  a suspect smashed the rear windshield of a student’s vehicle near 37th and Flower Streets.Miscellaneous incidentsat 2:01 a.m. on Jan. 31, DPS officers responded to a report of a female screaming near The Row’s North Alley. Upon their arrival,  the officers were directed to an intoxicated student in the alley.  The student appeared confused and told the officers that she was diabetic, so they transported her to California Hospital for 12:36 a.m. on Jan. 31, DPS officers responded to a report of a non-USC male and a non-USC female involved in a dispute at 1234 37th Dr. and detained them for questioning. The male said the female was in possession of his cell phone, and she returned it while the officers were present. The male also said he no longer wanted the female living in his residence, and she left the scene without further 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 30, DPS officers responded to a student who injured his ankle when he fell off his bicycle after colliding with a parking control arm near Childs and Watt Ways. The officers examined the student and transported him to Student Health Center for medical treatment.At 3:05 p.m. on Jan. 30, DPS officers responded to a non-USC male who became disoriented while having blood drawn in Healthcare Consultation Center II. A Rapid Response team was at the scene treating the male when the officers came. The male was responsive and no longer disoriented.  The male was then released to continue having his blood drawn.At 1:31 p.m. on Jan. 30, DPS officers responded to a report of a non-USC female attempting to contact staff at the Eileen & Kenneth T. Norris Dental Science Center after having been repeatedly told she was no longer welcome on the premises because of her behavior. The officers detained the female and reiterated she was no longer welcome at the dental school. The female was given a letter from the school telling her the same thing. She was released after being instructed to read it and abide by the stated 11:04 a.m. on Jan. 30, DPS officers responded to a report of a suspicious item under a chair inside the Norris Medical Library. The officers saw a metal cylinder under the chair and, upon further inspection, determined that it was a weight used to tie down balloons. The officers then cleared the scene.last_img read more

England’s dramatic charge wins Canadian Challenge

first_img England won the Canadian International Junior Challenge for the seventh time with a dramatic charge over the last five holes of the championship at Wildfire Golf Club, Ontario. The team of Jake Bolton, Jack Cope, Danny Daniels and Kristian Tannum Donaldson had trailed the hosts, Canada, over the first two rounds and, with five holes left of the final round, they were six shots behind. But in a storming finish they overtook their rivals and won the title by a shot. Daniels (Essendon) birdied two of the last five on his way to three-under 69, the low score of the day. Tannum Donaldson (Buckinghamshire) was two-under for the last five, including a crucial birdie on 18. Cope (Minchinhampton) birdied 14 and 16 to finish on level par. Bolton (Ogbourne Downs) beat his Canadian opponent by two shots over the closing holes. Manager Alan Covey said: “The job was done! We had played the last five holes in six-under par as a team, to win by a single shot. It was a fantastic fightback by Team England and we were champions. “Although we were six behind Canada after 13 holes all the team were playing well.  I just told each player to try and beat the Canadian in their group by two shots in the last five holes and they responded accordingly!” Covey also praised the boys from Team Canada for being great opponents. “Canada pushed us all the way, but thankfully we just came out on top,” he said. England played the last round in a team score of one-under and finished the 54-hole event on four-over par, one shot ahead of Canada. In addition Bolton was third individually on two-over, two behind the leaders, scoring 73 69 76. Tied fifth were Daniels 74 77 69 and Tannum Donaldson 74 72 74; while Cope was eighth 75 75 72. The championship is the only multi-team international junior golf championship conducted in Canada. The event was developed to provide elite junior golfers around the world the opportunity to compete in an international ranked event while experiencing Canadian culture in one of Canada’s finest regions. The event also promotes the building of international relations between juniors and golfing federations.  Caption: (from left) Jack Cope, Kristian Tannum Donaldson, Alan Covey (team manager), Jake Bolton, Danny Daniels. (Image courtesy Canadian Junior Golf Association). 18 Sep 2016 England’s dramatic charge wins Canadian Challenge last_img read more

Evolution Bends to Fit the Evidence

first_imgA good scientific theory should predict what is observed.  When the theory is confronted with unexpected evidence, should the theory be jettisoned or modified?  Darwin predicted slow, gradual change over long periods of time.  Let’s see what evolutionists do with surprises (cf. 01/23/2009).Explosive evolution:  Evolution has been anything but gradual in the case of pupfish.  A press release from UC Davis says that 50 species of pupfish from Massachusetts to Venezuela “are all pretty much the same” in the way they look and act and eat.  “If the evolution of all pupfish is like a steadily expanding cloud, [Chris] Martin found that the San Salvador Island and Yucatan pupfish are like bursts of fireworks within it.  They show explosive rates of evolution – changing up to 130 times faster than other pupfish,” the article claimed.Emerging from the ooze:  George Poinar at Oregon State is trying to put together the evolution of nematodes (roundworms), which he thinks originated a billion years ago as one of the earliest forms of multicellular life.  Here is his explanation for their origin: “They literally emerged from the primordial ooze.”    In the next paragraph, though, the article listed all the parts that would have had to emerge: “But they are functional animals, with nervous and digestive systems, muscles, good mobility, and they are capable of rapid reproduction and learned behavior” (see 06/25/2005 on how Caltech scientists are trying to reverse-engineer a roundworm’s developmental program).    Even though Poinar just wrote a book on nematode evolution, “There’s still a huge amount we don’t know about nematodes,” he admitted – like maybe how something this complex could literally emerge from ooze.Evolution by subtraction:  Clearly, a huge amount of new genetic information would have had to accompany the growth of Darwin’s tree of life from root to branch tips.  It would also be expected that closely related species would have closely related genomes.  That’s apparently not the case with the lab plant Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) and the lyre-leaved rock cress.    A press release from Max Planck Institute began, “It would appear reasonable to assume that two closely related plant species would have similar genetic blueprints.”  But the lyre-leaved rock cress has a genome fifty percent bigger than the other; “Moreover, these changes arose over a very short period in evolutionary terms.”    It’s not like the lyre-leaved cress has gained new genetic information; on the contrary, “considerable elements have been lost from some parts of the thale cress genome.”  To further exasperate Darwin, the article said, “A smaller genome appears to offer advantages during the natural selection of individuals.”  One of the researchers is asserting, “We consider the thale cress with its more streamlined genome as the form derived through evolution.”  Too bad the American species didn’t obey Darwin’s law of subtraction (03/10/2011).Pigs, birds, and cleanliness:  Birds evolved to wash themselves.  Pigs evolved to lie in the mud.  Can opposite outcomes be ascribed to a scientific law?  Victoria Gill at the BBC News had no problem with this, announcing cheerfully and confidently alongside of a contented pig lying in slop, “Pigs have ‘evolved to love mud’”.    She quoted Mark Bracke [Wageningen University] speculating, “Liking shallow water could have been a point in the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals.”  After all, he said to his eager reporter, “We all evolved from fish, so it could be that this motivation to be in water could be something that was preserved in animals that are able to do so.”    Bracke’s apparently Lamarckian explanation does not explain why pigs didn’t evolve onward to follow the whales.  Gill did think it adequate to call this statement by Bracke an explanation: “He explained, ‘It seems to me that this preference to be in shallow water could have been a turning point in the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals.’”    None of the other science news sites laughed at this.  They jumped on the bandwagon and joined in the chorus: Live Science told its readers “Why Pigs Love Mud” using Bracke’s speculation as if it were a scientific explanation.    PhysOrg followed suit, swallowing Bracke’s notion that “pigs and other wallowing animals did not evolve functional sweat glands because wallowing was a part of their lifestyle,” never stopping to ask if lifestyle is a cause or effect of evolution.  Some children like to wallow in mud but they still have sweat glands; others like to take showers but sprinklers have not emerged on their heads.Imaginary evolution:  It might seem unfair to propose a theory that cannot be tested or falsified.  That did not stop Jack O’Malley-James of the University of St Andrews from proposing that plants inhabiting planets orbiting two-star systems might have black leaves and flowers (see PhysOrg).    “Depending on the colours of their star-light, plants would evolve very differently,” he told a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society last month. was gleeful about this imaginary scenario, but did admit in the end, “Of course, this is all speculation, because scientists have yet to find conclusive evidence of any life forms beyond Earth.”Nutcracker sweetgrass:  For decades, Paranthropus boisei has been nicknamed “Nutcracker Man” based on its teeth (whether or not it was a man or ape is another question; CMI).  No longer; we’re hearing today from Live Science, Science Daily, PhysOrg and the other secular science news sites that this creature probably ate grass like cows or pigs – “a discovery that upsets conventional wisdom about early humanity’s diet.”  Maybe its new nickname will be Cow Boy.Surprises like this are common in articles on evolution (04/12/2011, 03/25/2011, 02/18/2011, 01/31/2011).  Yet educational sites like Evolution of Life, using cartoon graphics, continue to portray the standard gradualistic Darwinian story as if scientists know what they are talking about.Let’s listen in on the Darwin Cacophony Orchestra’s performance of Psychovsky’s Nutcracker-Man Suite, consisting of the following movements:Many-at-your Overture to Darwin (01/29/2011)Dance of the Rigor-Dumb Theories (11/23/2010, bullet 6)Rushing Dance (tree pack) (01/22/2009)Arabidopsis Dance (06/09/2010, 04/23/2010)Chinese Fossil Dance (04/23/2011, 01/12/2005)Dance of the Weed Roots (03/31/2011)Waltz of the Ivory Towers (02/12/2009)Final Movement: Stuff Happens (09/22/2009)Encore: 1,812 Overtures to Darwin (02/19/2009), with “bursts of fireworks”If this sound and fury is not your cup of tea, try listening in on The Creation across town.  Word has it a number of leading scientists have given it high marks (source).(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Wireless internet for Northern Cape schools

first_img14 April 2014South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology has launched the Northern Cape phase of its Wireless Mesh Network project, providing broadband internet access at 56 public facilities, including 52 schools, in the province’s largely rural JT Gaetsewe District.Funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Meraka Institute, the initiative – part of the wider Broadband4All project – aims to establish alternative information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in rural areas countrywide.Speaking at the launch at Learamela Special School in Kuruman on Thursday, Deputy Science and Technology Minister Michael Masutha said it was now “common knowledge that ICT has a positive impact on people’s lives”.He said the government’s national broadband policy aimed to make broadband “universally accessible by 2030, at a cost and quality that meets citizens’ needs, including formal and informal business and the public sector”.A Grade 9 learner from nearby Iketletso Middle School, Thato Kgosierileng, who started using a computer for the first time at school, expressed his excitement at having access to the internet.“Now am able to search for information on the computer without having to go to the library,” he said. “With a computer, one can do a lot of things within a short space of time.”A teacher at Learamele, Boitshoko Bannane, said the use of computers would expand pupils’ learning possibilities.Education District Director Vuyisile Teise said the introduction of computers would improve the learning process. “The learners will now be able to download information from computers. Everything is now at their fingertips,” he said.The department launched the initial phase of the initiative in Sekhukhune, Limpopo province and Ekangala, Mpumalanga province in 2010, connecting 212 public facilities including schools, circuit offices and colleges.The project is supportive of the Schools Connectivity project, which is led through the e-Connectivity Forum and aims to connect approximately 27 000 public schools in the country. It is headed by Deputy Communications Minister Enver Surty and Basic Education Deputy Minister Stella and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Vinehub: New Social Network Connector to Aggregate, Update Multiple Services

first_imgWhen Google announced the launch of the new Buzz API yesterday at the Google I/O developers conference, I spotted an application in their partner lineup which hadn’t yet crossed my radar: Vinehub. After having initially spotted their logo in the Google blog post containing details regarding the official announcement, I clicked through to the Buzz Featured Apps page to check it out. But here, the service was nowhere to be found. A visit to satisfied my curiosity, though. It appears that Vinehub is a new social network aggregation application, in the same line as FriendFeed or even Buzz itself, except with one major difference: it doesn’t just pull in updates for liking and commenting, it sends them out too. Vinehub: Feels Like Alpha, Claims BetaAfter testing the application, I can see why it wasn’t included on Google’s list. Vinehub is clearly still in beta. In fact, they should probably call it alpha, based on my experiences. The service currently supports adding Facebook and Twitter accounts – at this point, the only Buzz integration offered is the addition of a “Buzz This” button on posts. After announcing a partnership with the on-demand data center and hosting services company NetDepot in November, a press release went out promising MySpace integration, too, but that doesn’t appear to have launched yet. It took me four different tries over the course of two days to finally get the Facebook account added to my stream. For whatever reason, it simply would not take. I had to remove the application’s Facebook permissions and the re-add my account again and again before it finally worked. When at last I managed to get Facebook messages to appear in my stream, the “like” and “comment” buttons beneath the status messages were un-clickable. That is, I could click them, but nothing happened – I was simply redirected back up to the top of the page. Another feature that wasn’t ready for primetime, it appears. Some Facebook messages came in entirely blank, only showing an avatar, name and date. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Related Posts center_img Tags:#Product Reviews#social networks#Social Web#web On the other hand, Twitter functionality (reply and retweet) did work. Could be Great, Too Soon to TellHowever, pre-judging Vinehub now based on these issues would be unfair. It’s obvious that the service is still actively being developed, and isn’t ready yet for everyday use. In fact, some of the links at the top of the Vinehub homepage don’t even work yet – they display a “coming soon” message when clicked. Plus, the support email address is also non-functional – an email I sent them for more information was kicked back. That said, the promised functionality is appealing. Instead of simply aggregating your networks like FriendFeed and Buzz do, Vinehub wants you to be able to post back to them and use the essential features they offer, including replies and retweets on Twitter, commenting and liking on Facebook and “buzzing” posts from one network to the next. In the future, the company plans to offer more functionality, too, including editing profiles, viewing friends’ updates, viewing and sharing photos and adding contacts. Another feature in the works is a pro-level account which will allow business and power users an ad-free version of Vinehub with up to 5 accounts per social network. That could be handy for those tasked with keeping track of the social media efforts within an organization. But today, there are several far more robust Twitter clients like CoTweet and HootSuite which offer more features than Vinehub. In its present form, Vinehub doesn’t even come close to competing with those services. Unless Vinehub can ramp up its offerings to be on par with what’s already out there, it will have a hard time gaining business users, despite the other services it offers. Again, though, it’s too soon to tell what kind of application Vinehub will be – it has to get built first. In the meantime, we’ll definitely keep our eye on it, both on the site and via Twitter. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos sarah perezlast_img read more

Designing a ‘One Knob’ Incentive Program

first_imgThe phrase “energy efficiency programs” (or just “programs”) refers to utility-sponsored or state-sponsored programs that offer homeowners a rebate, incentive, or subsidized financing to make energy efficiency upgrades in their homes. Many of these programs work under the Department of Energy’s “Home Performance with Energy Star” program (HPwES). The cliffhangerThat sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? It’s within our grasp. We just have to get programs out of the way by focusing on results, implementing accountability, and using both of those to drive towards market transformation. This new program design, One Knob, is very simple and easy to understand.More details on my One Knob proposal are coming in an upcoming article. Goals of “One Knob”Whining without proposing a solution is an awful thing to do, so here are three key goals that any good program should achieve. These three things are necessary components to keep programs on track. Without these attributes it is unlikely that Home Performance (HP) will ever scale:Focus on results. Let market forces rule. Free contractors to sell projects that solve homeowner problems. Get bureaucrats out of project decisions and leave the improvement decisions to the collaboration between homeowners and contractors. Stop telling how to achieve program goals — just provide rewards to the extent that program goals are achieved.Accountability. Provide real accountability and real energy savings. No more claiming credit for “hopeful projections.”Market transformation. Deliver remarkable results to homeowners so that they tell everyone they know.These sound nearly impossible, don’t they?They’re not. They can all be achieved with a program called One Knob (as in “one volume control”). Even better yet, this can be achieved with current contractors, current employees, current programs, current equipment, and current technology. It will take a little retraining, but not much.(Briefly, the “One Knob” proposal calls for the level of incentives paid to be based on saved energy. If 10,000 kWh per year are projected to be saved, and the rebate is $.40 per kWh saved, then the homeowner gets a check for $4,000. Contractors have the most control over results, so the contractors will make the projections. The program will publish contractor metrics — that is, actual energy savings compared to projected savings — and will rank the contractors based on these metrics. High-ranked contractors will get automatic job approval, leading to less administrative overhead for the contractor and the program.)I’ll eventually fill out the program concept. But first, a discussion of what currently exists, and then what is possible to attain for the three desired goals (a focus on results, accountability, and market transformation). In a recent article, I told the warts-and-all story of how energy efficiency program design was a huge factor in putting my award winning business under. I promised to talk about solutions this time.If you are the type whose initial response to new ideas is typically; “No, No, NO!”, you probably should read no further.… If, on the other hand, you are comfortable having your schemas stretched and altered, if you are open to and enjoy having your thinking challenged, hopefully you will enjoy this.You’ll note that my tone in this article may be a little harsher than usual. There was no other way to write it. At some point, no matter how nicely you put it, those who stretch the truth may find the truth offensive. Ultimately this is not an attack on bad people, but rather bad structures. This series of articles is an attempt to expose harmful program structures that pervert process and prevent optimized outcomes — and then to offer a different path, a path that removes perversities and aligns all stakeholder interests. Accountability: What could beAccountability, through the trust it creates, can be its own reward. One Knob can create a system where excellence is recognized and exalted. This will push the best contractors to the top and allow them to charge more for their services.J.D. Power and Associates did this for the automobile industry. The company took an industry with terrible quality and no metrics and created a ranking. The ranking rewarded Honda and Toyota and almost bankrupted the Big Three. Now quality is significantly better throughout the industry, and ten-year-old cars with 150,000+ miles are common. Consumers and the high-quality companies won; low-quality companies had to raise the bar or die.Once you make quality a ranking metric, quality matters. What is quality in home performance? Measurable results.The home performance industry is one of the few construction disciplines that actually has measurable results, not just customer satisfaction metrics. We have lots of metrics to rank contractors on: actual energy saved, actual vs. predicted energy saved, actual blower door reduction, actual vs. predicted blower door reduction, $ invested/energy saved — the list goes on and on. With HPXML, we have access to ALL of this. (HPXML is a central database that pulls information from various energy modeling software for easy analysis by programs.) We have this right now. Today. Very little new is required. Market transformation: What could beWhat makes someone excitedly tell their friends about something? A spectacular result.Comprehensive home performance work that goes beyond an attic insulation job, but stops short of a deep energy retrofit, can deliver spectacular results. If we gain sufficient control over heat, air, and moisture movement, we can deliver the Four Tenets of Home Performance: comfort, health & safety, durability, and efficiency. These are projects that anyone with about $75 a month or more to improve their home can do.How nice is it to be comfortable in your home all the time? Or to not worry about icicles ripping down your ceiling ever again? Or to have your kid’s asthma, that landed him frequently in the hospital, subside? The home performance industry can deliver remarkable results. It truly requires systems thinking, but we can do it. And those results can help create a groundswell. Programs can play an important role.Here are some of the benefits of home performance market transformation:A healthier, longer-lived populace, with reduced allergies, asthma, flu, colds, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc. (Health & safety is the second tenet of home performance, after all.)A more comfortable populace. Home performance work improves indoor environmental quality, or total comfort.A more productive populace. Comfortable people are more productive.A healthier planet: substantially reduced usage of fossil fuels (and an easy transition to pure renewables at little or no additional cost).Jobs. This is literally a trillion dollar industry at a very conservative $10,000 per home times 100 million existing homes. Think that could help out a bit in providing jobs?Happier, more productive, more innovative contractors. If programs were ridiculously simple yet provided solid accountability, contractors would be free to figure out results driven best practices. Programs control from aboveCurrently, either directly or indirectly, project work scopes are created by bureaucrats who don’t actually do or sell the work. These bureaucrats don’t talk to the homeowner, they don’t have to manage the crews, they don’t have to worry about overhead or any of the other things that come with running a real company, and they don’t worry about homeowner outcomes.This is true of both the simple rebate programs like the Dominion East Ohio program in my region, or the programs created by Efficiency Vermont, or the much more complex programs in New York and California. This makes working with programs very complex and screws up incentives, because all parties are pulling for different things.Incentives are misaligned and often perverse. Check this out: “There was a huge emphasis on quantity even if the quality was very poor. Managers often resorted to lying to meet unrealistic quotas. They suffered from perverse incentives that placed fulfilling political goals ahead of efficiency. Firms in general had little incentive to be efficient or control costs.”That sounds like home performance programs, doesn’t it? It’s actually from a blog by Robert Nielsen about why communism failed. The author goes on to say, “One of the greatest failings of communism was its inability to innovate.”In the end, what was one of my biggest complaints about the program I worked with in Ohio? My flexibility was severely limited; I couldn’t innovate. I had to do work one way: the way the program wanted. I was not able to let market forces work and deliver what clients were looking for. We just chased rebates, taking our eyes off solving systemic problems. This seems to be true of every program in the country.While it’s still early, my current projects which receive no program assistance are running in the $15,000 to $40,000 range. My old average job was $2,500. This is what happens when you slow down, build trust, and really focus on homeowner wants and needs. There are still trust barriers that impede sales. If these projects had third-party results tracking and could get incentive for energy savings, or on-bill financing, this approach is likely to take off. Want to help?Share the heck out of this! Comment! Make noise! Nothing is going to change unless we push for it.Go join the Linked In “Get Energy Smart” group. We’re going to need help making enough noise to get things changed, so please add your voice! We’ll update you with action steps there as well.Connect with me on Linked In and mention “One Knob.” Feel free to email me at nate [at] energysmartohio [dot] com. Footnotes.1. Here is an example of bad program design, but first a definition. A negawatt is a saved watt of energy, or negative watt, defined by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Here is an actual example of how the Negawatt kicker (incentive) works in the Energy Upgrade California program. Would you like something that works like this? Or something simple? The kicker is $0.75/kWh if the home doesn’t have existing AC, $0.30/kWh otherwise, and $1.60/therm. A minimum 10% total site savings needs to be projected. The percentage-based component starts at $1,000 and increases by $500 for every addition 5% projected. The electric and gas savings are then modified by factors designed to counter (as you might have guessed) historical over-projection. Kwh savings are left alone if no AC, but hit with a 0.4 modification otherwise (60% reduction). Gas savings are hit with a 0.8 factor. For instance, a home without AC that models 25000/18000 kwh existing/improved, and 1100/800 therms existing/improved would be 27.6% site savings. Modified by the therm factor, it would be 24.5% savings, which puts it in the $2,000 tier with a $5,250 kwh and $480 therm kicker, for $7,730. Is this the best we can do?!2. In New York, jobs must “pay for themselves” and have a 1 SIR or better, meaning the energy savings from the project will pay for the project within the lifespan of the improvements. The trouble is, with current low energy prices, that just doesn’t happen. So what do you do? You lie. You inflate initial blower door numbers. You fudge the model to show really high initial usage. I have this directly, and off the record, from multiple contractors in New York. This also leads to crappy realization rates. If I promised to make your pickup truck get 50 mpg, is there any prayer I might deliver? Nope. But I had to say that to get the program to say yes to the project and feed my family. That is a great example of a perverse incentive.3. This is per Ori Skloot in an update video about EUC 2.0. (Go to 2:30 in the video). What exists today: Programs built without considering resultsEnergy efficiency programs are complicated. The simple ones like the one that killed my business have simple rules, but they complicate work scopes, the sales process, and the jobs themselves. More complicated programs have rules so complicated that they are laughable, except it’s not funny. (1)In part, this comes from programs trying to make sure homeowners, ratepayers, and taxpayers don’t get cheated, but they end up cheating homeowners out of results and contractors out of sustaining profits.Stakeholder priorities are badly misaligned, as well. Program objectives are for high project count and to claim the highest amount of dubious energy savings possible. Homeowners don’t care that much about saving energy; they’re more interested in solving comfort and control problems, and frankly they are very skeptical of energy savings claims. Trouble at the kitchen tablePrograms make life at the kitchen table, where all projects are sold, much harder. They are friction when we need grease.Complex rules change; work scopes get changed to fit rebate or fuel type requirements; jobs get adjusted on the fly; rebate structures change; jobs get shut down because they don’t meet payback requirements… and on and on.One of the worst problems caused by managing projects from above is that it creates a culture of collusion. Contractors are often forced to lie to get a job approved and pay their bills. (2) Program implementers spend time teaching contractors to game models to “pass” instead of helping them improve diagnostic and design skills.Programs are essentially trying to control home performance work from the top down, not unlike the communist-controlled Soviet economy. How did that work out again? To be fair, this is true of most large bureaucracies. The term “red tape” exists because of bureaucracy.Summing up: programs just aren’t simple or results-focused, and this leads to all sorts of accidental barriers that keep home performance work from scaling up. Market transformation: What exists todayI was born in 1978. Energy efficiency programs have been in place in one form or another since then. I’ve heard that at current job volumes, it will take 500 years to retrofit the homes that need to be retrofitted in the next 20 years.The large Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) programs were projecting 0.5% growth for 2013. Wouldn’t we need just a little bit faster growth than that to get there? Tell me how we’re achieving market transformation right now?I’m a home performance consultant. I was an home performance contractor. Yet I couldn’t define home performance for you three years ago. We only barely have a name for ourselves. Consumers have no clue who we are. About one home performace job per 1,000 HVAC jobs is done, according to the recently passed Phil Jeffers. How is that “winning”?California has only hit 10% of its goal. New York is watching contractor participation, job size, and job count fall. My program with Dominion East Ohio has turned into a glorified HVAC rebate program. One program in Connecticut is an HVAC-only program — how is that home performance? How is that comprehensive, whole-house thinking? How are we winning again?Currently, the parallels between communism and current energy efficiency programs are so strong that I can literally lift passages of articles about what made communism fail and drop them into this paper.Could anything that can be so directly and easily compared to communism possibly be expected to achieve capitalistic market transformation? Focusing on results: What could beWhat if programs only had One Knob to adjust? What if this simple adjustment was aimed specifically at delivering actual energy savings and solving homeowner problems?One singular adjustment that could be changed, with changes that could be announced months in advance, so there weren’t ugly surprises at the kitchen table? What if this knob could be used to speed up or slow down the market predictably like the Fed does with the discount rate? What if this could drive us towards performing comprehensive energy retrofits to millions of houses instead of thousands because it actually solves homeowner problems?What if a massive industry focused on results could come into existence, one that could finally put a happy ending on the Great Recession? One Knob can do this. Details are coming. Stay tuned. Author’s note: This series is aimed at the home performance industry. My company values transparency, so we put it in the public sphere for homeowners to see and understand our thinking. Accountability: What exists todayCurrently there is no real accountability for results, either for solving homeowner problems or for actual energy savings.Contractors can blame programs for hamstringing them when projects don’t deliver what was promised. Programs can blame contractors for doing shoddy work. Utilities take the “lies” from programs to give to Public Utility Commissions mandating energy savings, and nothing really gets accomplished. Fingers point every which way.Homeowners spend lots of money with mediocre results, and contractors are exhausted by constant program changes created by bureaucrats who make these changes to justify their existence. No one party actually is accountable or rewarded for actual results.To repeat, this is not the fault of people; it is the fault of the structure. Programs are not market-based.Programs often have absolutely shocking costs per project due to a lack of accountability. Energy Upgrade California has spent $200 million in overhead costs since inception to deliver 3,615 jobs. That’s $25,000 per job in overhead, before incentives. (3) This is for jobs that are substantially smaller than $25,000 each. Worse, those projects deliver to the consumer only one third of the energy savings projected by Energy Upgrade California. This program has achieved less than 10% of its goal, by the way.California is easy to shoot at because it has been so ridiculously wasteful. Their 34% realization rate is the worst of the published program results. New York is in the 45% to 75% range, depending on fuel.Other states have published results which hover in the 40% to 60% range. Who is holding these folks accountable? If a friend borrowed $1,000 and paid you back $600 and said, “We’re square,” would that be good? That’s what programs and our industry are effectively doing. We’re lucky no one actually tracks their energy bills, or there could be a lawsuit. It doesn’t have to be this way.All the while, naive and idealistic contractors struggle to make a living in the home performance field. I tapped out with a program-dependent business model. The system is wasteful, inefficient, and can’t provide a decent standard of living for contractors.In the current world of contracting there is a fervent race to the bottom on price and quality. I starved to death trying to provide quality without charging enough for it, and Energy Smart is far from alone. Chris Dorsi, author of Residential Energy and founder of the Habitat X Conference, advocates for higher pay scales for insulation contractors, so it’s a common problem.Without metrics for quality or accountability for results, doing anything more than the bare minimum is a competitive disadvantage. RELATED ARTICLES Hard Truths of Home PerformanceThe ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ FallacyHow an Efficiency Program Killed My Business Nate Adams is a recovering insulation contractor turned Home Performance consultant. His company, Energy Smart Home Performance, is located in Mantua, Ohio. Using a comprehensive design approach, he fixes client woes with a market-driven process that he hopes will lead to market transformation for our industry.last_img read more

Presidency to honour Banerjee

first_imgPresident University, the alma mater of Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, will honour the distinguished alumnus award to him in January 2020.On Wednesday representatives of Presidency University Alumni Association called on Mr. Banerjee at his south Kolkata residence and handed him a letter from the alumni association president Nabanita Dev Sen, a famous Bengali author.“We came to invite him to the University. We have decided to confer the Atul Chandra Gupta Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2020 to him. He has agreed to receive the award,” a member of the Association told journalists. According to the Alumni Association, Mr. Banerjee said that he will inform about the dates of his availability to the University in January 2020. Get-together in 2020 The Association representative said that they would organise a get-together when Mr. Banerjee would visit the University in January 2020. “We will invite those teachers who taught him along with his contemporaries, as also those who ran the canteen and the college administration then,” the representative said. The University has also decided emboss facsimile of the faces of Mr. Banerjee and Amartya Sen, another Nobel laureate and an alumni, in the list of distinguish alumni on its wall. Meanwhile, later in the day Mr. Banerjee met Nabanita Dev Sen. Mr. Banerjee arrived in Kolkata on Tuesday evening and spent a day with his mother. He is likely to leave Kolkata on Thursday.last_img read more