Kurtenbach: Draymond Green found his best game at the best time

first_imgOAKLAND — When Draymond Green came into the NBA in 2012, he was labeled a tweener — a player not big enough to be a power forward, but not agile enough to be a small forward, either.Seven years, three titles, and a Hall of Fame-worthy resume later, Green hasn’t really shed the reputation of being a man without a position.That’s because he can play — and more importantly, defend — all of them.Nothing about Green is subtle, but his on-court brilliance has, at times, gone under the radar — a …last_img read more

Indian firm in major BPO investment

first_imgGrowth strategy “Additionally, the clients will benefit from greater scale, deeper domain expertise, comprehensive and flexible solution offerings, robust financial strength, and a rich international talent pool,” Sen said. Destination for business “CCN is a strategic fit for Aegis,” Aegis CEO Aparup Sengupta said in a statement this week. “This combined entity will offer CCN’s clients and prospects and expanded set of solutions and services from a broader geographic delivery platform.” The company services several Fortune 500 companies worldwide in the telecoms, banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare and travel sectors, and has 32 facilities in countries including the US, Philippines, India, Costa Rica and Kenya. 10 July 2009 Indian business process outsourcing (BPO) company Aegis has acquired Call Centre Nucleus, one of the largest privately owned call centre operators in South Africa, for an undisclosed amount. Aegis chief marketing officer Sandip Sen said that with more than 33 000 employees globally, Aegis was well positioned to provide customised solutions to meet today’s business needs. Client benefits South Africa will be an integral part of Aegis’s growth strategy, and the company will invest up to $60-million (about R500-million) to expand, develop skills, bring in international experience and create up to 5 000 jobs in the country over the long term. CCN had revenues in excess of R150-million for 2008/09, with significant revenues from clients located in the UK. Aegis belongs to Indian conglomerate Essar Group, and has revenues of approximately US$500-million. “With this transaction, Aegis proves its commitment to develop South Africa as a destination for international business,” Brick said. CCN chief executive Lawrence Brick believed they had found the right partner to guide the company towards future growth, and that the transaction was a win for the company’s customers, employees and stockholders. Johannesburg-based Call Centre Nucleus (CCN) has been in the BPO business for the last seven years and has a capacity of 700 seats, with over 1 000 employees operating out of its two facilities. Its core competence lies in end-to-end inbound customer service in the contact centre arena. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Bungee jumping in South Africa

first_imgOne of South Africa’s tourism attributes is that it has the third highest commercial bungee jump in the world. Here’s more information about bungee jumping and bridge swinging in the country.If you’re looking for adventure, Downhill Adventures is one of the bungee jumping operators in South Africa that you can contact. (Image: Downhill Adventures)Brand South Africa reporterWeehah! South Africa has the third highest commercial bungee jump in the world – it’s official. At 216 metres, it’s not for the faint of heart.The jump is run by Face Adrenalin, at the Bloukrans Bridge on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape.The same company also offers a range of jumps on the much lower Gouritz River Bridge near Mossel Bay, also in the Western Cape. Here you’ll also find South Africa’s only commercial bridge swinging operation, run by Wildthing Adventures.Abseil, rapp jumpHang out a kilometre high over Cape Town, over crashing waves at Knysna, or rapp jump down skyscrapers in Johannesburg or Durban.Not sure of difference between bungee jumping and bridge swinging? With bungee, you jump off a bridge (or other high fixed platform) with giant elastic bands usually, but not always, tied to your feet.Bridge swinging, on the other hand, involves jumping from one bridge while tied in to climbing ropes suspended from an adjacent bridge.Bungee jumping operatorsBig Rush, in Durban, is recognised by Guinness World Records as the tallest swing in the world! It is to be found at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which has plenty of other attractions on offer. The big swing is located inside the Stadium, launching from the iconic arch. Everything else you need to know can by found on the Big Rush website.Cape Xtreme presents tours of Cape Town and overland tours. Included in the adventure activities are white water rafting, quad biking, shark cage diving, bungee jumping at the Bloukrans River Bridge, and trips to the Kruger National Park, Mozambique, and Kenya.Cape Town-based Downhill Adventures has a number of bungee jumping options. There’s a two-day trip that includes jumps off the Gouritz and Bloukrans Bridges, a one-day option that includes a visit to the Gouritz Bridge, and a combo Great Shark-Jump option that includes cage diving with Great White Sharks and bungee jumping at the Gouritz Bridge. Bridge swinging, single or tandem, is also part of the deal.Face Adrenaline presents bungee jumping at the 216-metre-high Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route, the highest commercial jump site in the world. They’ve been doing it since 1997 and that experience makes Face Adrenalin hard to beat. They also offer the Flying Fox – a 200-metre-long cable (foofie) slide.Living on the Edge Adventures hosts Bungee Mogale, which operates off the Kings Kloof Bridge in Krugersdorp / Mogale City. People between the weights of 40 and 120 kilograms are able to do the bungee jump, but no tandem jumps are allowed. The height of the jump is about 50 metres – plenty high for adrenaline seekers!Orlando Towers in Soweto, Johannesburg calls itself a vertical adventure centre, and it’s hard to argue with that description. They offer bungee jumping, climbing, abseiling, rap jumping, and swinging. The Towers, with their eye-catching paintings, were once part of one of the most advanced power stations in the southern hemisphere. They no longer function as a power station, but with all their exciting offerings there is still electricity in the air!The Big Swing, located at the Panorama Gorge in Graskop, Mpumalanga, features a freefall from a height of 80 metres, which crosses the Gorge at a sensational speed.Wildthing Adventures offers bridge jumping, which involves a big fall in a body harness before swinging between two bridges. It happens at the Gouritz River Bridge and has attracted visitors from over 70 countries. The record for the oldest jumper belongs to a 91-year-old man, the youngest to a five-year-old boy. Wildthing also presents other adventure activities, such as mountain biking, white water rafting and canoeing.Sources: South African Tourism, Wildthing Adventures, The Big Swing, Orlando Towers, Bungee Mogale, Face Adrenalin, Downhill Adventures, Cape Xtreme and Big Rush.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Solar Thermal is NOT Dead

first_img New Shelter magazine story.pdf Robert Starr et al – DOE report from 1984.pdf Robert Starr is a solar thermal advocate who lives in northeastern Vermont. He is president of the Radiantec Company, a supplier of underfloor radiant heating and solar heating products. The environmentNow, we are at the end of this economic analysis. I hope that I have made the case that PV-produced electricity is not really a less expensive way to make domestic hot water. I also hope that I have made the case that solar thermal is anything but dead and can be efficient, cost-effective, reliable, low-maintenance and even luxurious.But now, I want to make the case that solar thermal can help us meet important social responsibilities. Environmental concerns are hard to quantify in terms of money. But just because they are arguable and hard to quantify does not justify scoring them at zero. Where and how shall we score the fact that in a few decades, Glacier National Park will have no glaciers? I do not mean to belabor these environmental and moral issues, but I cannot ignore them totally either. (I am writing for Green Building Advisor.)Environmentalists are nearly unanimous in their perspective that we must not use utility-provided electrical energy frivolously. They say that the production of electrical energy has serious profound consequences now and well into the future. They note that most of our utility-generated electrical energy is made out of either coal or uranium. It may be OK to use electrical energy in small amounts for end uses that cannot be readily made by lesser fuels. But it is not OK to use electrical energy in large quantities to perform simple thermal tasks that could be done with any other fuel at lower cost and lower environmental impact.It is important to understand that unless you live in the woods, off the grid, we are all interconnected. The PV energy that we make goes into a common pool. If we use utility-provided electricity for any purpose, we will cause some utility somewhere to burn coal. If we do not consume wantonly, the utility can reduce coal-generated pollution. It means that even if you have a photovoltaic panel, you cannot honorably use utility-provided electrical energy to make bathwater. After all, if you did not use electrical energy to make bathwater, that energy could have gone back to the utility to reduce pollution or could be used for another more appropriate purpose.Good electric vehicles are available now. Elon Musk, the green business magnate, tells us that attractive PV roofing materials will be available in October 2017 (but they will not be cheap). So use PV electricity to run your car, or run your computer, or your lights or your television, but use solar thermal to make your bathwater.Either way, free solar energy is yours; take it. Heat-pump water heaters take heat from the ambient airThere is at least one efficiency problem with heat-pump water heaters: They rob Peter to pay Paul. The First Law of Thermodynamics informs us that energy can be neither created nor destroyed (but it can be moved). Accordingly, the heat that is produced for domestic water is moved from the ambient air and must eventually be replaced by the space heating system.Martin’s analysis compared the performance of solar thermal systems, making domestic hot water only with PV panels operating at 20% of tilt and just making energy. They are not comparable. PV panels at this tilt will be covered with snow all winter and would do little even if they were not. We must compare PV systems with solar thermal systems operating under the same conditions in order to learn anything. Radiant underfloor heating with solar thermal: a major improvementWe have time in this space to look at one particular solar thermal application that is ideal for residential applications and in combination with DHW uses. I ask you to set aside what you may have heard previously about solar thermal and solar space heating and take a new look. It is just possible that when solar thermal is combined directly with radiant underfloor heating, there are significant benefits that have been underappreciated in the past.A glycol solution which is warmed in the solar collector flows to the DHW heat exchanger and also to a radiant panel floor. When space heating is no longer wanted, a thermostat turns off the flow to the floor. Simple as that.The main reason that radiant underfloor heating goes together so well with solar thermal is because it is a very low temperature use and low temperatures lead to higher efficiency in the solar collector because less heat is lost to the outside air. Solar collectors that can operate at lower temperatures will harvest significantly more energy than if they must run at higher temperatures.What we are proposing here is a hybrid solar space heating system that combines the relative advantages of active approaches (solar collectors and pumps) with the advantages of passive designs (using the natural materials and design) and yet leaves their respective disadvantages behind. It might be called “an Active Charge/Passive Discharge Solar Heating System” where the solar energy is collected and brought into the building in an active manner and then stored and delivered in a passive manner.Active design approaches can collect the solar energy with excellent efficiency and do not lose energy during periods when they are not operational (as passive collectors do). But the usefulness of purely active systems has been compromised by the cost and complexity of the various mechanical systems needed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy.Passive approaches reduce cost and complexity by using conventional building components to collect, store, and distribute solar energy, but the overall usefulness is compromised when the collection element is a part of the building envelope and loses heat at night. Passive approaches can be very demanding in terms of architecture and orientation.It can be seen that the hybrid design will be low in cost because of its simplicity and highly efficient because of its low operating temperature. “The solar collectors operate at the highest possible efficiency because they operate at the lowest possible temperature” (second stage evaluation by National Bureau of Standards).The very high efficiency caused by the low operating temperatures enables a small amount of cloudy day performance and a considerable improvement in partly cloudy and morning and afternoon performance. The “slab on grade” construction element provides enormous thermal storage at almost no cost. Antifreeze-based systems are more reliableIn my humble opinion, a solar thermal system should run on antifreeze, even in Florida. Key West, Florida is the only city in the continental United States that has never suffered a freezing event. Antifreeze will prevent freezing, boiling over, and corrosion. Glycol systems cost a little more than drain-backs and drain-downs, but they are worth it because of the avoided problems and higher efficiency.Antifreeze in a solar thermal system does not need to be replaced every two years as in an automobile because there is no exposure to ambient air. The solar thermal system using glycol has only one moving part, the pump, and the glycol lubricates the pump for very long service life. Glycol solutions have been lasting more than 25 years. If a glycol solar thermal system fails (or if the power goes out), it goes to a fail-safe condition. The only true maintenance item with solar thermal systems has been exterior pipe insulation which seems to last about 20 years if it has UV inhibitors. Glycol systems can also be used for other things as well as DHW.Installation should cost about $1,500. If no one will do it for that, then do it yourself. If you buy a good kit and you have a good installation manual and you are a reasonably competent do-it-yourselfer, the results will be excellent. Martin seems to have counted the cost of the storage tank twice in his comparison between solar thermal and heat-pump powered DHW. Let me first discuss the comparison between solar thermal and PV and then discuss the potential of solar thermal in general. Maintenance in solar thermal is minorMartin mentioned maintenance problems in his comparison between PV and solar thermal. Here, we have to be careful not to confuse true maintenance with the cost of correcting mistakes. We all know of solar thermal systems that freeze up, boil over, leak, etc. But this is not the fault of solar thermal in general.If you select a proven design and install it according to the manual and with care, a solar thermal system will be a pleasure to own for the life of the building.On the other hand, if you create something experimental, and don’t consider every single thing, and then cut some corners, it can and will bite you. Your solar thermal system can be like a good refrigerator; it will run quietly and without maintenance for a very long time.center_img PV panels produce electricity; solar thermal collectors make heatTo be fair, PV panels produce electrical energy and electricity is wonderful stuff. It has a much higher value than simple thermal energy. It can be used for all kinds of things and our lives would be much poorer without it, but my point is that PV is just not a good way to make bathwater or space heat. It is inherently wasteful.The conversion efficiency or so called “heat rate” of electrical utility generation is about 33%. The only reason that electric cars make sense is because the efficiency of the internal combustion engine is much less than that (20%).Thermal energy is also useful to us and we need a lot of it. Between space heating, domestic warm water production, clothes drying, and cooking, a major portion of residential energy consumption is thermal. The remainder that really requires the higher quality of electricity is actually quite small. Environmentalists are telling us that “If you want electricity, then PV is a good way to do that, but if all you want is simple thermal, then you should go with simple thermal solar collectors in the first place because they are much more efficient and environmentally appropriate.”Much is being said about PV costs having come down. It is true and a wonderful thing that PV costs have come down dramatically in recent times, but they still cost more than solar thermal collectors and they produce so much less useful energy. There is really no indication that PV costs will continue to come down. In fact the current low costs of PV seem to be related to predatory pricing practices in the world markets and they may not be sustainable, but let us hope.Martin used a system cost of about $10,000 for a solar thermal water heater in his first article. That is too high. In a later analysis he offered the option of using $6,000. I find that more reasonable. It is arguable what a two-panel solar thermal water heater should cost, but if you give me your credit card number, I will send one out for $5,361.48. This will buy you the materials, in kit form, for a glycol-based solar domestic water heater, which is the preferred method. An article written by Martin Holladay, “Solar Thermal is Dead,” was published by GBA on March 23, 2012, and another article titled “Solar Thermal is Really, Really Dead” followed it on December 26, 2014. The premise of these articles is that solar thermal is dead because “It’s now cheaper to use a photovoltaic system to heat domestic hot water.” These two articles have been very widely circulated and remain very much with us today. As one example, I recently Googled “solar domestic water heater” and these articles came up #2.It is my duty, as a fervent solar thermal advocate, to offer the other side. [Editor’s note: The author owns a company that sells equipment for solar thermal systems and radiant floor heating systems.]Martin’s articles miss the mark in some important areas.First of all, Martin’s broad statement that “Solar Thermal is Really, Really Dead,” based upon one domestic hot water comparison, goes way too far. Even if the analysis was correct (and it is not), solar thermal encompasses production of domestic hot water (DHW), space heating, radiant underfloor heating, snow melting, root zone heating for gardens, compost production, crop drying, pool heating, and more. Martin is speaking for the talents and creativity of many people, and while I personally admire Martin’s many contributions to green energy in this space, these two articles are not among them. RELATED ARTICLES Solar Thermal is DeadSolar Thermal Is Really, Really DeadAnother Solar Myth Bites the DustSolar Hot WaterSolar Hot Water System Maintenance CostsDomestic Hot Water: No Perfect SolutionHeat-Pump Water Heaters Come of AgeHeat Pump Water HeatersAn Introduction to Photovoltaic SystemsPV Systems Have Gotten Dirt Cheap A DOE reportThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) thoroughly studied one such design and published a report titled “Technical Evaluation of a Solar Heating System Having Conventional Hydronic Solar Collectors and a Radiant Panel Slab.” The report concluded that the hybrid design which costs only half as much as referenced active systems collected about twice as much solar energy and delivered it into the building. From that point, the building’s very low heat loss and the building’s high thermal storage ability enabled high solar heating fractions in the difficult Northern Vermont climate.The radiant heat will be appreciated with all floor types, but if the flooring and the structure beneath is capable of storing lots of heat energy (slab on grade construction), a significant solar heating fraction can be the result.In comparison with any other active or passive solar heating system, the use of this hybrid solar heating method greatly increases efficiency, greatly lowers cost, improves performance, and improves architectural flexibility. Investment performance is improved accordingly.Investment value in Boston considering energy saved and reduction in the cost of the conventional heating system and not considering tax credits was calculated to be 14% per year tax free.A layman’s language description of the hybrid design was provided by Fred Langa, Senior Editor of New Shelter magazine.The effectiveness of the passive solar storage element (the radiant floor) will be dependent upon what it is made out of and where the insulation is placed and how energy-efficient the building above is. Certainly slab-on-grade construction will store a great deal more heat than wooden floor joist construction. If you construct a building with very low heat loss (superinsulated), and then if you incorporate a high level of thermal mass (slab on grade), you can expect to see a solar heating fraction in excess of 90% in a poor climate like Northeastern Vermont. You will need 7 or 8 solar panels for a 1,500 square foot house. If you want wood joist floor construction, or if you only want 4 or 5 solar panels, you can expect a 50-60% solar heating fraction. On most days of the year, you will have all of the heat that you want and you will enjoy radiant comfort every day. On most days of the year, you will have all of the DHW that you want.Bear in mind that Northeastern Vermont is about the poorest place in the country for solar heating. If you live anywhere else, these numbers will change for the better and you do not need to go to the superinsulated level.A warm floor will lose more heat downward than an ice-cold floor, so proper insulation is important, but the floor will not lose more heat downward than other radiant floor systems. Other solar thermal usesLet’s think about some of the other benefits of solar thermal.If you have a solar DHW heater it will produce more heat than the absolute minimum that you require on many days. This is not a bad thing. It is called luxury and abundance. Most people cannot have all of the hot water that they want without guilt.You can water your garden with extra warm water and not set your plants back a week with ice cold water. Speaking of gardening, you can put a couple of extra heating loops in the garden. Your garden will get off to an early start and last a couple of weeks longer. Your flowers and vegetables will be larger than everyone else’s.You can put a loop in the compost heap and get more compost sooner. You can put a loop in the driveway or walkway for deicing and snowmelt. It will work efficiently because of very low operating temperatures. You will track less salt and sand into the house and it will be safer. You can use excess solar energy to heat your pool. Solar thermal is more efficientTo begin with, solar thermal collectors are about five times more efficient than PV panels, and that is a very important consideration. There are many different ways to view the relative efficiencies of PV panels and thermal collectors. One method is to look at peak performance, or what the collectors do under ideal conditions. The other way is to apply a “performance factor” which accounts for the fact that collectors do not always operate under ideal conditions.The peaking performance of the typical PV panel is about 16%. The peaking performance of the typical flat-plate solar collector is about 76%, according to Wikipedia. That is 475% better.If we apply the performance factor then we will see what will happen in the real world. The performance factor for PV is about 65% and the performance factor for solar thermal is also 65% at fairly low residential operating temperatures. All of that means that we will get to keep about 10.4% of the solar resource with PV panels and about 50% with thermal collectors.Either way, solar thermal collectors harvest about five times as much energy as PV. It means that if we want to make useful energy from the sun, it will take almost five times the solar panel area with PV as it will with solar thermal. This matters because there is only so much good south-facing area on a typical building.If solar thermal panels cost about the same as PV panels, it will cost almost five times as much money. These simple efficiency observations are not the whole story of the comparison between PV and solar thermal but they are certainly the beginning. Then, we must consider the money value of the energy produced, the effectiveness of its utilization, the ability of the energy to be stored and other important factors. But this snapshot of efficiency tells us something about what PV is up against.It is also clear that we do not get a tremendous amount of energy from solar collectors of either kind. The sun is a gentle form of energy to begin with and we only get 11% of it in the case of PV. We must use it wisely and efficiently, but it does work, both economically and technically. Combined uses help utilizationMartin correctly notes that solar energy must be effectively utilized or it is not very useful. A major advantage of PV systems is their utilization rate which can approach 100% because the electricity that exceeds the immediate demand can be sent back to the utility where it can be used for other purposes.The benefits of solar thermal are “site-specific.” If you cannot use the solar thermal energy at the time that it is produced on site, it may be wasted at best and may even be a nuisance. But it is true that you can (and should) improve utilization of the solar energy with end uses that can be valuable and even fun.It is incorrect to compare PV panels with utility-combined uses with solar thermal without combined uses. One of the most attractive combined uses for solar thermal energy is for underfloor radiant heating, and we will use it as one example where solar thermal is certainly “not dead.”last_img read more