Planning a New Home: Where to Spend the Money?

first_imgThat’s the subject of this week’s Q&A spotlight. A tight, well-insulated building envelope is fundamental to a high-performance house. So is a heating and cooling system that keeps it comfortable with a minimum input of energy. What happens when the construction budget can’t handle the added costs of high-quality windows and extra insulation as well as high-efficiency mechanicals?That basic question is what’s plaguing Dave W as he works to complete plans for his new home.“Which would you recommend for spending $$ on first: better windows and insulation to reduce heating/cooling requirements, or higher efficiency systems (including geothermal) to reduce costs for meeting the requirements?” he asks in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor.“Perfect world would obviously mean doing both,” he adds, “but limited resources ($$) means we’re probably going to have to make [a] choice between options.” RELATED ARTICLES Concerns over minisplit performanceJesse Lizer wonders what happens to the performance in extremely cold temperatures. Moreover, in researching options for his own house (which he covers in a separate Q&A post, Lizer says that ground-source heat pump systems aren’t necessarily that expensive. One quote he’s gotten puts the cost of a ground-source system at $13,000 (after tax credits), which would be substantially less than the special cold-weather ductless minisplit system one manufacturer recommends.The key, Holladay points out, is that a superinsulated house loses heat very slowly, so anything short of a prolonged cold snap shouldn’t be a concern. “If you’re worried,” he write, “install a couple of inexpensive electric-resistance space heaters to get you through the occasional cold snap. That’s a lot cheater than a $25,000 ground-source heat pump.” Weighing the allure of a ground-source heat pumpA geothermal system (more accurately referred to as a ground-source heat pump) is especially intriguing for many homeowners, including Dave. The systems are electrically operated, so they don’t burn any fuel directly, and they can return several times more heat than the energy required to operate them.This energy output-to-input ratio, called the coefficient of performance or COP, is what makes ground-source heat pumps so attractive. The systems are also better suited to cold climates than conventional air-source heat pumps, some of which need a boost from electric resistance elements when temperatures fall into the 30s.The main reason for the high cost of a ground-source heat pump is the expense of installing the ground loop, whether installed horizontally in trenches or vertically in bore holes. And improvements in air-to-air heat pump technology, including the ductless minisplit systems now offered by several Asian manufacturers, could be game-changers.“Ductless minisplit heat pumps have an average COP that is nearly the same as most geo-source heat pumps,” Kevin Dickson tells Dave, “yet the installation cost is just a fraction of what a central geo-source heat pump would cost. More efficiency improvements are happening in the air-to-air heat pump arena,” he adds, “but the cost of drilling and/or laying geo-source coils is not going down. I’m betting on air-to-air technology to make geo-source technology obsolete very soon.” Spending where it countsDuctless minisplit systems begin to look very attractive in superinsulated houses where heating loads are very low and conventional heating equipment is overkill. And that’s at the heart of Dave’s dilemma.“The answer to your question is simple: skip the ground-source heat pump, for the reasons that Kevin mentioned, and focus your attention on improving the thermal envelope of your home,” writes GBA senior editor Martin Holladay. “Anyone who pays attention to these issues realize that for a single-family house, a ground-source heat pump makes no economic sense compared to the ductless minisplit heat pumps from Asia, which are capable of heating a home when the outdoor air temperature is -17 degrees F.”Armando Cobo put it this way: “Whether you have limited resources or not, every house should have: 1. Top envelope seal job and moisture management detailing. 2. Best insulation that you can afford. 3. Best windows that you can afford. Those three will reduce your heating and cooling loads to the max (within you budget), where you can reduce the size of the HVAC system. Hopefully, the HVAC system is designed, installed and commissioned properly.”James Morgan also signs on for the envelope-over-mechanicals priority list, summing up with this: “A top-of-the-line bilge pump is only needed if you have a very leaky boat.” Heating a Tight, Well-Insulated HouseEquipment Versus Envelope Q&A: Do geothermal systems live up to the hype?Green Basics: Heat PumpsGreen Basics: Insulation Overview Our expert’s opinionHere’s what Peter Yost, GBA’s technical director, had to say:It feels a bit like piling on, but optimizing the building envelope as much as you can afford over the space conditioning systems is the clear winner in my book.A couple of key points:Importance of design: Spending money on optimizing the building envelope means spending money on design first. Building configurations, window placement, and total square area of glazing have a lot of influence on building performance, even before you get to building assembly design and construction. And layout can become really important if you get the space conditioning loads low enough such that an open floor plan means minimized distribution.Do what we do best: As a builder or remodeler, optimizing the building envelope performance is largely in your control whereas optimizing the HVAC system is likely to place much of that control in someone else’s hands. Systems such as ground source heat pumps, in my experience, are very dependent on the quality of installation and the engineering of the system. Spending the money on your expertise and craftsmanship is a more certain return, in my book.Shift to importance of other loads: Interestingly, if you get your space conditioning loads low enough, then the performance of equipment related to other loads — such as hot water, appliances, and lighting — can become as important to your overall energy performance as your HVAC system and its performance.Long-term logic: Lastly, you can almost always change out mechanical equipment much more easily than you can radically change building envelope performance, particularly when the space conditioning loads are relatively small because of your killer envelope. Put your money in the envelope — initially and for the long run.last_img read more

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Deepening Connections in Social Media

first_imgBy Bob Bertsch, NDSU Agriculture Communication and MFLN Network LiteracyPhoto by sorokti:Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)After co-presenting the MFLN Family Transitions “Engaging Military Families with Social Media” webinar with Bruce Moody, I have received a few emails from people wanting to learn more about social capital.I’ve been talking about social capital since I first learned about it in Tara Hunt‘s book, “The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business.” Recently I’ve begun thinking about it more deeply.Hunt describes social capital as the currency of your reputation, specifically your online reputation. In sociology, social capital refers to the “collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_capital). I like to think of social capital like monetary capital, except with valued actions replacing money.Here’s an example. Let’s say you need someone to help you move some furniture. There are many people you could ask; from a stranger on the street to your closest friend. The likelihood of someone agreeing to help you (without paying them) increase based on how much you have helped that person in the past. It’s the favor economy.In social media, social capital matters. If you dive into social media and begin asking for favors (e.g., like my page, share my post, come to my event), you’re making withdrawals on your social capital. If you haven’t spent any time making social capital deposits (e.g., thanking someone for their post, suggesting your followers follow another page or account, answering a question), your withdrawals will give you a negative social capital balance, which negatively effects your online reputation.In the webinar I mentioned earlier, I talked about social capital at the ground level to begin building a relationship with people. Now I’m starting to think beyond that to building the kind of social capital needed to deepen existing relationships.I’m currently reading John Stepper‘s book, “Working Out Loud.” Although the term “social capital” does not turn up in the book, the concept is definitely present. The book helps individuals build a network that will serve them professionally, establishing and improving their online reputation.Stepper touches on some of the initial social capital strategies I have spoken about, but also goes beyond those initial deposits to the kind of interactions that will deepen relationships.According to Stepper, two keys for working out loud are generosity and empathy. I think both are also key to building enough social capital to deepen online relationships. As you try to make meaningful connections with those you serve on social media, I suggest you ask yourself these 3 questions (adapted from “Working Out Loud”):Who is this for?Why should they care?Why am I doing this?These are critical questions to ask when making social capital deposits.Asking “Who is this for?” helps you be intentional with your posts. Having a specific person or group of people in mind can help you create posts with value – social capital deposits.Asking “Why would they care?” requires empathy. The answer to that question should not be  “because I say it’s important” or “because I want them to know.” You need to put yourself in the mind of the specific person the post is intended for and sincerely imagine why they would care.Asking “Why am I doing this?” speaks to generosity. If the answer is “to get more likes/shares/comments”, STOP. Approach social media in the way you approach your work with military families, with generosity and a sincere desire to help.These questions will help you avoid treating social media as mass media. By focusing on a specific person, putting yourself in their mind, and sharing out of generosity, you can avoid using social media as a bullhorn and begin to use it in a way that can have the most impact, to deepen connections with people and connect people with each other.Bob Bertsch has worked in communications, education and web technology for more than 20 years. He’s currently a web technology specialist with North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication and a member of the eXtension Network Literacy community of practice, which works to engage professionals in a community built around learning in networks.  The archived webinar “”Engaging Military Families with Social Media” can be viewed here.  Learn more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions.last_img read more

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Go Beyond the Webinar: Insights, Experiences, and Strategies on Chronic Illness Shared by Participants- Part 2

first_imgBy: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTAdapted photo: Pixabay[Sunrise Ocean Sea Coast by MartyNZ, November 7, 2015,CCO]MFLN Family Development, Family Transitions, Nutrition and Wellness, and Military Caregiving teams presented the second and last part of a two-part series on chronic illness titled “Chronic Illness: Empowering Families in the Journey”. Dr. Mendenhall provided us with a brief recap of part 1 and new ways to harness resources, techniques to provide support, and strategies to utilize resilience. Additionally, the case study from part 1 was revisited and a new case study introduced. Dr. Mendenhall spent a large amount of time discussing Strategies for Engagement, which are listed below:Advancing AgencyEnhancing Communication(Always) connecting the mind and the bodyEliciting illness histories and meaningsRespecting defenses, removing blame, and accepting unacceptable feelingsFacilitating communicationAttending to developmental issuesReinforcing non-illness identityProviding psychoeducation and supportMaintaining an empathic presenceThe participants were asked the following question and gave the following responses:Q: What are your best practices when working with healthcare teams? A:Communicate what each team member “sees” in weekly meetings to help us all “see” the bio-psychosocial whole of our Veteran. We have interdisciplinary team meetings and we discuss issues at those. By having an open dialogue with the family, finding out where they are, what and who they are talking to for assistance. Talk to patients and then to one another on the healthcare team about what the patients’ goals are and how we can best help them meet those goals. Maybe for some people who are very motivated and interested in nutrition, helping them work on their diet will help, but for others, quality of life comes from having time and focus on family, hobby, etc. Maybe keeping a food diary would help, maybe it would just add more stress and anxiety to their lives. What do they really want to accomplish? It takes the whole team to figure out what parts we can play to help them.Towards the end of the webinar, we were introduced to Bella, a 4-year old little girl with a serious heart condition. The following was the case study presented:Bella (age 4) is the daughter of Nick (30) and Laurie (29). Bella has a younger brother, Luke (10 months). The family has recently moved to Atlanta from a small town in South Georgia due to Bella’s medical needs and the fact that all of her specialists are in Atlanta. Bella has been diagnosed with a rare heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). She has had several surgeries since birth and has recently been put on the heart transplant list due to her declining health and most recent lab work. Bella gets fatigued quite easily and has to have a nurse in her home around the clock to monitor her vitals. She is on supplemental oxygen. Bella’s mother had to quit her job in order to take care of Bella the way that both she and Nick would like for her to be cared for. This caused a significant decrease in their income and has recently made Laurie feel guilty. When they learned that they were pregnant with Luke, it came as a surprise to them both. Although they love Luke very much, both Nick and Laurie feel a tremendous amount of guilt that they are unable to attend to him as much as they do Bella. They have recently moved to Atlanta to be closer to Bella’s team of doctors and to have access to more healthcare options for her. However, both Nick and Laurie’s entire support system was left behind in South Georgia. We asked the following questions and would love to hear your answers and feedback on this blog post!What are the strengths of this family?What seems to be the common stressors experienced by this family?How can we as service professionals empower the family? In what ways?What tools/resources would be beneficial to share with the family?What strategies mentioned in this two-part webinar would be beneficial in helping this family?We would love to see your responses to the questions above about Bella and any other feedback you would like to share pertaining to the information in this blog and part 1 blog. This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.last_img read more

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Getting Flagged on YouTube or Vimeo? Here’s Why

first_imgDon’t let your videos get flagged on YouTube or Vimeo! In this post we shed light on the ContentID system and how you can use quality music in your videos, issue free.Need music for YouTube or Vimeo? Discover our curated music library.Maybe this scenario sounds familiar…You’ve edited a video and used your favorite music tracks. You upload the video to YouTube or Vimeo. But the video shows up with advertisements…or worse, it doesn’t show up at all. Chances are, the copyrighted music in your video has found a match in the YouTube or Vimeo ContentID system.As early as 2007, YouTube began experimenting with a content identification (content ID) system to recognize videos that contained copyrighted audio or video. Essentially, the service creates a ‘fingerprint’ of the media used in a video and compares it against it’s database of copyright work. If there is a match, the copyright owner has the option of “blocking the video to make it unviewable, tracking the viewing statistics of the video, or adding advertisements to the video.” [via Wikipedia] In the last few years, YouTube has become increasingly more aggressive in ensuring that uploaded videos don’t contain protected media.If you use copyrighted music in your YouTube projects, they can strip your chance of making money on it. The YouTube terms of service state you must meet these requirements to monetize (or make ad money) from your videos [via YouTube]:Your content is advertiser-friendly.You created the content or have permission to use it commercially.You are able to provide documentation proving you own commercial rights to all audio and video content.YouTube reserves the right to disable monetization for accounts that do not follow our guidelines.Whereas Vimeo once was a ‘safe-haven’ for videos that used copyright work, they’ve recently rolled out their own ContentID system, Copyright Match. How does Vimeo flagging work…If the Copyright Match system detects third-party copyrighted material it will halt the upload and present you with a few options: appeal, swap out the music, or replace/delete the video file. [via Sean Gilvray at Vimeo]Check out the full terms of Vimeo’s Copyright Match.The Best Music for YouTube & VimeoOur tracks won’t get flagged.When we started the Premiumbeat royalty free music library, we decided from the beginning that our tracks will never go into a ContentID system. All of our music is exclusive to our site, meaning you can’t find these tracks anywhere else. This enables us to control what databases they get added to –  allowing our customers to have a smooth experience, without flagging, when they use the music on YouTube or Vimeo.When you use a Premiumbeat track in your project you won’t have to prove to YouTube or Vimeo that you’ve licensed it. No need to upload documentation and no need to plead your case. We understand the video and film production business happens quickly. When you upload something and need to get it out, you certainly don’t want to jump through any hoops.Additionally, using Premiumbeat music allows for the monetization of your videos. If there are going to be ads placed on your videos it should be your choice – and if so, you should be the one that makes the money off them!Unfortunately, not all royalty free music libraries offer a smooth experience for web video usage. Many of our competitors have tracks that appear in multiple libraries or have been added to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon or another commercial music distributor. These are all ways in which the tracks could land in YouTube or Vimeo’s content ID system.Need music for YouTube or Vimeo? Discover our curated music library.Please let us know if you have any questions regarding licensing or usage. We’re happy to help!last_img read more

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Carnival appoints Adolfo Perez as Senior VP of Sales Trade Marketing

first_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >> MIAMI — Carnival Cruise Line has promoted 36-year veteran Adolfo Perez to the role of senior vice president of sales and trade marketing.Perez, who had been serving as vice president of sales and trade marketing since 2015, has helped roll out several initiatives and programs to fortify relationships with travel agents and various associations. In his new role, he will continue to be responsible for Carnival’s business development teams and trade marketing functions in Canada, the U.S., and international markets.Perez will report to Ken Tate, who has been promoted to executive vice president & chief commercial officer.Adolfo PerezLast year Perez got “Travel Agents Rock” tattooed on his arm.“Adolfo has been critical to driving growth in our travel agent business, both domestically and internationally, and we want to recognize the success of his leadership and the efforts of his team and the results they have delivered,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy. “We greatly value our relationship with our travel agent partners and all of us at Carnival are committed to continuing to work hard to develop innovative and beneficial programs to support them.”More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemPerez first joined Carnival in 1982 as an embarkation agent, climbing in the ranks to hold various managerial positions within the company’s sales and reservations departments, including vice president of reservations sales. Prior to joining Sales & Trade Marketing, he launched the company’s international sales and marketing office in London and, upon his return to the U.S., served as Carnival’s vice president of new markets and product marketing.“Working with the sales and trade marketing team for the past two and a half years has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I look forward to forging ahead with even more initiatives in the next phase of this role,” said Perez. “From Agentpalooza to our popular ‘Travel Agents Rock’ program, it’s been gratifying to see the relationship with our valued travel partners grow stronger and this is just the beginning.”Perez is based in Miami Beach, Florida. Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, Peoplecenter_img Carnival appoints Adolfo Perez as Senior VP of Sales & Trade Marketing Travelweek Group Tuesday, January 30, 2018 last_img read more

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