first_imgThe Public Health Ministry and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) is expected to finalise the essential medicine list for Guyana during an ongoing three-day meeting with stakeholders at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.PAHO/WHO Representative to Guyana, Dr William Adu-KrowThe medicine list is updated every 2-3 years via a lengthy process through a pharmaceutical team with the aid of a standard treatment guideline developed by the Public Health Ministry or in some instances, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).The list is then supplied to the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry’s annual budget, as that being recommended for the Government to procure and make available for patients’ use.Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud explained that every year, newer and more effective agents are added and those that were found to be ineffective are removed.“Each year we add the newer and more effective agents but we also remove medicines that we find are ineffective that they might be for resistance developed against some form of antibiotic and we have done that or that a drug have found not to be as effective as we did in the past,” Persaud noted.Persaud further added that the list contains generic items which have been recommended globally by the World Health Organisation.A section of the gathering“The medicines are in their true form, they are also categorised by strength and by the preparation type whether it is liquids or tablets, capsules, topical application so there might be one pharmaceutical agent but they might be available in 5-6 different forms so it’s quite a long list but we are trying to keep the items generic, that means that we look at the pharmaceutical active component and we recommend the generic items which WHO have been recommending globally rather than to go for brand.”In his remarks, PAHO/WHO representative to Guyana, Dr William Adu-Krow noted that essential medicines are critical to the functioning of any health system, especially in Guyana.Dr Adu-Krow further deemed the list as being among things that are of national priority.“Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times, in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms with assured quality and adequate information and at a price that the individual and the community can afford” the PAHO/WHO representative added.Dr Adu-Krow added that “The implementation of the concept of essential medicines is intended to be flexible and adaptable to many different situations exactly which medicines are regarded as essential remains a national responsibility”.Regional advisers and consultants of WHO are currently leading the discussion in the finalisation of the Essential Medicine List. Regional health officers of the administrative regions, pharmacists, doctors and staff of the Material Management Unit and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation are among those participating in the three-day meeting.last_img read more

first_imgCALGARY, Alberta — The much-anticipated rematch featured more talk and little action. Only this time, the Sharks did all the talking, getting their revenge on the Calgary Flames with their play instead of their words and fists.The Sharks and Flames seemed poised for another battle royale in Calgary on Thursday, a continuation of the fisticuffs that dominated their last meeting on Dec. 31 when the clubs combined for 64 penalty minutes in the game’s final 41 seconds. Instead, the Pacific …last_img read more

first_imgWherever biologists and microbiologists look, they find organisms solving problems in remarkably clever ways.Cell CalculusCells respond to surface curvature in clever ways (Science Daily). Did you know microbes act like A-students in Calculus-III class? Calc III tends to focus on problems in 3-dimensional curved surfaces. This article, based on work at the University of Pennsylvania, shows how cells respond to changing curvatures like math champs. Who taught them?Last year, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania revealed surprising insights into how cells respond to surface curvature. Specifically, they investigated how cells respond to cylindrical surfaces, which are common in biology. They found that cells change the static configurations of their shapes and internal structures.“We think of it as the cells doing calculus; the cells sense and respond to the underlying curvature,” says Kathleen Stebe of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.Now, the researchers, led by Stebe and recent engineering graduate Nathan Bade in collaboration with Randall Kamien of the School of Arts and Sciences and Richard Assoian of the Perelman School of Medicine, have published a follow up study that Stebe likens to “calc III” for cells, investigating how cells respond to more complex geometries.Sea Turtle MagnetsSea turtle hatchling in open ocean (Illustra Media, this and next photo).Evidence that Magnetic Navigation and Geomagnetic Imprinting Shape Spatial Genetic Variation in Sea Turtles (Current Biology). This open-access paper (a bit rare for this journal) continues amplifying knowledge that the Illustra film Living Waters showed: how sea turtles find their way through the trackless seas over thousands of miles. There’s enough variation in magnetic field intensity at each beach, the authors say, for the hatchlings to “imprint” on the magnetic coordinates of their native beach and find their way back years later. What they found may also help explain other animals that use geomagnetic navigation, such as the salmon shown in the Illustra film.Here, we present evidence for an additional, novel process that we call isolation by navigation, in which the navigational mechanism used by a long-distance migrant influences population structure independently of isolation by either distance or environment. Specifically, we investigated the population structure of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), which return to nest on their natal beaches by seeking out unique magnetic signatures along the coast—a behavior known as geomagnetic imprinting. Results reveal that spatial variation in Earth’s magnetic field strongly predicts genetic differentiation between nesting beaches, even when environmental similarities and geographic proximity are taken into account. The findings provide genetic corroboration of geomagnetic imprinting. Moreover, they provide strong evidence that geomagnetic imprinting and magnetic navigation help shape the population structure of sea turtles and perhaps numerous other long-distance migrants that return to their natal areas to reproduce.Plant SunblockHow does plant DNA avoid the ravages of UV radiation? (Science Daily). “If the ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages human DNA to cause health problems, does UV radiation also damage plant DNA? The answer is yes, but because plants can’t come in from the sun or slather on sunblock, they have a super robust DNA repair kit.” A genetic repair toolkit called nucleotide excision repair is especially robust in plants. Not only that, it responds to the day-night cycle (the diurnal circadian clock), becoming more active when needed in sunlight.Credit: University of BristolSeaweed OpalNew type of opal formed by common seaweed discovered (University of Bristol). In this example of a clever trick, the researchers at U Bristol are not exactly sure why the organism does it, but the common brown alga seaweed manufactures biological opals. Opals are known for the iridescent colors produced at different angles. The seaweed not only imitates the gemstone, it can switch it on and off. The scientists like the trick so much they want to imitate it.Such structures arise from nanosized spheres packed tightly in a regular way and are known to optics experts to reflect different colours from incoming white light into different directions. These types of structures are also seen naturally in gem stone opals, which comprise a nanostructure of tiny spheres of glass formed within hard stone deep below the earth’s surface that naturally pack together in such a way that they diffract light into different directions giving the opal it’s well-known opalescence….In a process unknown to present nanotechnology, the seaweed’s chloroplasts-containing cells (which aid photosynthesis) self-assembles the oil droplets into a regular packing. Surprisingly, these seaweeds can switch this self-assembly on and off, creating changing opals which react to the changing sunlight in tidal rockpools. Even more remarkable is how the seaweed performs the dynamic self-assembly, over a timescale of just hours, is a true mystery to the research team.Hikers on rough terrain. Licensed from Corel Professional Photos (this and next photo).Human Gaze GaitingGaze and the Control of Foot Placement When Walking in Natural Terrain (Current Biology). We don’t want to leave out people as cleverly-equipped organisms, too. This open-access paper explores how the brains, eyes, legs and feet of us upright walkers solve the problem of keeping ahead of the terrain. A hiker negotiating a rocky trail has to maintain a balance between watching her feet and looking ahead. Most of us learn to do this trick without much thought, but it is very complex. The scientists outfitted hikers with headsets that allowed measurements of where they were gazing as they walked on level ground and proceeded onto rocky terrain.Human locomotion through natural environments requires precise coordination between the biomechanics of the bipedal gait cycle and the eye movements that gather the information needed to guide foot placement. However, little is known about how the visual and locomotor systems work together to support movement through the world. We developed a system to simultaneously record gaze and full-body kinematics during locomotion over different outdoor terrains. We found that not only do walkers tune their gaze behavior to the specific information needed to traverse paths of varying complexity but that they do so while maintaining a constant temporal look-ahead window across all terrains. This strategy allows walkers to use gaze to tailor their energetically optimal preferred gait cycle to the upcoming path in order to balance between the drive to move efficiently and the need to place the feet in stable locations. Eye movements and locomotion are intimately linked in a way that reflects the integration of energetic costs, environmental uncertainty, and momentary informational demands of the locomotor task. Thus, the relationship between gaze and gait reveals the structure of the sensorimotor decisions that support successful performance in the face of the varying demands of the natural world.The research highlighted four major findings:Gaze and full-body kinematics were recorded during real-world locomotionWalkers show distinct gaze strategies appropriate for the demands of each terrainNevertheless, walkers also adopted a constant look-ahead time across all terrainsWalkers tune gaze behavior to sustain consistent locomotor strategy in all terrainsOutdoors humans. Credit: Corel Pro Photos. (Visited 424 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 So there you have it. You may not have even known about the optimizing strategy your mind and body utilize in the simple act of walking down a path. You are a wonder walking through a world of wonders. Give thanks to our Creator, and study His marvelous designs in creation.last_img read more

first_img16 May 2014 South Africa’s track cyclists have been on song in Asia, putting together an impressive collection of medals from the first two events of three in the South East Asia Grand Prix Series in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The first event, which was held on 10 and 11 May, saw 18-year-old Joshua Buchel claim two silver medals in the junior points and junior scratch races. In the elite women’s omnium, Maroesjka Matthee claimed a bronze medal, with French woman Laurie Berthon claiming gold before rain prevented further competition on the outdoor track.Gold The second Grand Prix took place on 13 May, with South African riders picking up more gold medals, including gold. The elite men team pursuit event saw Kellan Gouveris, Evan Carstens. Theuns van der Bank and Morne van Niekerk race to victory, claiming the win ahead of Uzbekistan, with the hosts, Malaysia, in third. The junior men’s team of Waylin Young, Joshua Buchel, Graeme Ockhuis and Stefan de Bod added a second gold, winning the junior men’s team pursuit by over four seconds over two Malaysian teams, which rounded out the podium.Individual races In the individual races, 18-year-old Stefan de Bod claimed a gold medal in the points’ race, while Waylin Young, a year his junior, won a silver medal in the junior men’s Scratch race. HB Kruger claimed a silver medal in the elite men’s points’ race, while Maroesjka Matthee settled for a bronze medal in the elite women’s points’ race. Rain once again forced the remainder of the events to be halted. The third Grand Prix takes place on Friday. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

first_imgTags:#start#StartUp 101 Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting sramana mitra Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img This week’s roundtable had several interesting discussions around techniques for bootstrapping, both during the entrepreneur pitches, as well as during the Q&A. One of the most effective mechanics that I know for bootstrapping the early phases of a startup venture is by using services – consulting services, contact development work – such that you can achieve customer intimacy and also bring in revenue that can help fund your business. Even if you do product or IP development in parallel, that revenue stream is very valuable, as is the direct access to customer feedback. Some of my favorite entrepreneurs who have bootstrapped using services are Paul Kocher (Cryptography Research) and Jerry Rawls and Frank Levinson (Finisar).Lopworks Ltd.I gave this advice to one of today’s presenters: Ademola Osindero of Lopworks Ltd. from Nigeria. Ademola has a network integration services company for the last three to four years that generates revenues. But now he wants to build SaaS business apps for healthcare, for instance, and would like to raise $1M to do so. Well, the problem is that he doesn’t have any validation for the software business, and the chances of his raising money against an idea are slim. It is slim in a mature market like Silicon Valley, so I cannot believe that it has a prayer in a backward market like Africa. I advised Ademola to use his network integration services business to validate the healthcare IT product idea that he has, work with customers, build a product, and generate some revenue momentum by using the bootstrap using services principle.Q&AIn the Q&A someone asked how to bootstrap a B to C user-generated content site. Good question. This one is harder. One of the ways to do that is by offering market research data and analysis to the customers. It’s still a service, and it can turn into revenues quickly while giving you the runway to build your B to C business.Renewable Energy NowWe had Faith Kinslow start off by presenting her idea for Renewable Energy Now, which sounded like a content site through which she wants to raise funding for scientific research in alternative energy in universities. Well, I don’t see a business here, and advised her to use Facebook Causes for her fundraising interest. No need to waste precious time and energy in trying to build a business that has no chance. Magnetic PursenalityAnd then Karen Averill presented Magnetic Pursenality, a magnetic purse company that sources artisan products from wholesalers around the world, puts magnets on them, and sell through their website and other distribution channels. One of Karen’s goals is to help reduce global poverty by bringing the work of poor artisans into focus. Now it turns out that this is an area that I have done a lot of research on, and in my Vision India 2020 book, I have presented several projects around rural and slum development using similar ideas. However, there is one fundamental missing piece in Karen’s idea: design. Artisans in remote villages around the world have no clue about good design that sophisticated customers in the West are willing to spend money on. As a result, the products that Karen is selling on her website at this point are, pardon my bluntness, pretty ugly. Well, for a good cause or not, people simply don’t buy ugly products. So Karen either needs to work with a great designer who can provide designs to some artisans who execute against those designs. Or, she needs a great merchandiser who can pick a set of products that reflect taste. You cannot be in the fashion business without taste. This is a cardinal rule that cannot and should not be violated.We also had a discussion about channels. For Karen’s business, once the design problem is fixed, she has the option of selling in the B to C mode on her website, or in the B to B mode through catalogues. It turns out that she has done some great research to identify a set of catalogues that may be interested in buying her products wholesale. Her next step, therefore, is to validate that channel, and see how much appetite these companies have for her magnetic purses.ShabdMitraAt the end of the show, Ruchir Tewari introduced ShabdMitra, a mobile value-added service that takes English SMSs and converts them to one of the major Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, etc. Assuming that his technology works, an extremely hard problem in itself, Ruchir’s questions were around his go-to-market strategy. He has designed some use cases, including one that I liked: Advertisers trying to reach rural consumers can send an SMS in English, which can then be translated and broadcast to various geographies of rural consumers in their respective languages. There are issues around the need for the ad copy to be cool, and such. But it is an idea worth validating with some advertising agencies and marketers of consumer goods who need to market to these vast masses of rural Indian consumers? If the value proposition resonates, then Ruchir can take it to a carrier along with a group of advertisers and start a pilot. The regular mobile VAS business model applies: If an advertiser sends 100,000 messages, paying Rs. 2 per message, the carrier will split the revenue with the VAS provider. But the first order of business is to check whether the advertisers want such a service!I started doing my free Online Strategy Roundtables for entrepreneurs in the fall of 2008. These roundtables are the cornerstone programming of a global initiative that I have started called One Million by One Million (1M/1M). Its mission is to help a million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond, build $1 trillion in sustainable global GDP, and create 10 million jobs. In 1M/1M, I teach the EJ Methodology which is based on my Entrepreneur Journeys research, and emphasize bootstrapping, idea validation, and crisp positioning as some of the core principles of building strong fundamentals in early stage ventures. In addition, we are offering entrepreneurs access to investors and customers through our recently launched our 1M/1M Incubation Radar series. You can pitch to be featured on my blog following these instructions.The recording of this roundtable can be found here. Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here. You can register for the next roundtable here.Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies, writes a business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy, and runs the 1M/1M initiative. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her Entrepreneur Journeys book series, Entrepreneur Journeys, Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction, Positioning: How To Test, Validate, and Bring Your Idea To Market and her latest volume Innovation: Need Of The Hour, as well as Vision India 2020, are all available from Amazon. Photo by Grzegorz Rejniak 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts last_img read more

first_imgReprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.Sally O’Leary says that when a site became available near the site of an old family home, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy it. She’d been looking for a site to build on with her husband John. “We always wanted energy efficiency, I think nowadays that’s something that people have to do,” she says.The spent a few years trying to get planning permission before turning to Cork-based Wain Morehead Architects. For Sally, it was important their design showed respect for their site — an awkward, sloping patch of land overlooking a local river.Energy efficiency was important to the O’Learys, but architect John Morehead suggested taking things further and aiming for the more onerous passive house standard. “Passive was a complete dream,” Sally says. Climatic concernsWhile designing the house, architect John Morehead started examining the Irish climate data in the Passive House Planning Package, the software used to design passive houses. PHPP offers two default Irish climate data sets — one for Dublin and one for Birr.But Morehead found flaws in the figures for Dublin. “There was too much solar radiation and temperatures were too high in January. It was effectively indicating that it was much milder and sunnier than it is,” he says. Someone designing a house with such data could inadvertently underestimate the energy needed to keep it comfortable and under-specify the heating system.Ireland is a small island with a big coastline and varied topography, so our climate varies a lot from place to place — Morehead says this makes it particularly important to use site-specific rather than generic climate data. Wain Morehead Architecture now produce location-specific data using a methodology suitable for use in low energy and passive house buildings, taking into account data from local weather stations, satellite data and local topography — all processed with specialist software.Using site-specific climate data for the Carrigaline passive house — in the sunny south west — allowed Morehead to design the house with a lot more glazing than you might expect possible.Morehead says if he’d used data from Birr or Dublin and built the house with more insulation and smaller windows, it might have hit the passive house standard but been less comfortable to live in. “It’s all about achieving a balance,” he says. He adds that choosing windows that let through as much solar radiation as possible — measured in a figure known as g-value — is crucial. “I believe on the south side it’s even more critical than the U-value of the glass,” he says.He specified Katzbeck triple-glazed aluminium-clad larch windows for the project, supplied by Cork-based West Building Products. The windows have an overall U-value of 0.82 W/m2K, and a g-value of 0.55 – the scale for g-values goes from zero to one, with higher figures meaning greater solar gains. Morehead says the glazing specified reduced the house’s heat load by 2KW compared to using windows with a g-value of 0.52. Airtight challengeAn airtightness test at the house produced a result just under the required passive house standard of 0.6 air changes per hour under pressure test conditions of 50 pascals. “We’ve got a lot of folding doors and things which are pushing things to the limit,” Morehead says. “We hit the target, we were very relieved.”

On the ground floor, the external render [stucco] acts as the airtightness layer — this ensures continuity with the windows, which do not physically connect to the concrete wall element in ICF. The OSB board serves as the airtightness layer in the timber frame upstairs, and is joined to the render downstairs by an airtight membrane. “We had to be very considerate of the junctions before we even started building,” contractor Brian Twomey says.“Airtightness was a major issue,” adds John Kiely, electrician on the project. He says building airtight meant all electrical runs had to be planned in detail with the architect and contractor before work started. “It obviously took longer than usual, but paying attention to detail was very important. I would have made all my staff aware of airtightness and how important it was.”John Morehead adds: “There’s quite a busy road across the river, and you can’t hear a squeak. I think it’s a lot to do with the airtightness achieved. It’s absolutely silent in there.”He attributes the struggle to get to the passive airtightness standard to the complex shape and articulation of the house. A large folding wall on the first floor divides the main living space from the porch outside. “Quite a substantial area of the accommodation can be opened up to the elements outside the heating season, taking account of the fact that the principal accommodation is located on the upper floor level. The deep roof overhangs and balcony actively prevent overheating in summer,” he says.The design of the house was “heavily influenced by the fact we were on a water frontage”, he adds — for a start, the living spaces are upstairs while bedrooms are downstairs. “We wanted to maximize the views down to the river and facilitate and encourage family activity, inside and out, on the upper level.” “It’s very accurate,” the company’s Brian Twomey says of ICF. “You can get it very precise.” He’s also drawn by the fact that the structural, insulation and airtightness components of the wall are built in one system by one type of tradesperson.Killarney-based Thermohouse supplied the ICF system — essentially two vertically-stacked walls of polystyrene block, built up like Lego, with concrete poured between. The walls have a 100 mm (4-inch) service cavity on the inside — this is insulated with Rockwool and lined with Fermacell board, a mixture of gypsum, recycled paper and water.The ICF system features 100 mm (4 inches) of gray EPS insulation on the outside and 50 mm (2 inches) on the inside, with a 150 mm (6-inch) concrete core sandwiched between. The concrete layer was beefed up to 200 mm (8 inches) for structural support where the wall was built into the ground, and the walls are reinforced with extra steel here too. “We can design ICF buildings to withstand earthquakes of up to 7.2 on the Richter scale, and up to ten stories high,” Thermohouse’s Jack O’Driscoll says.“It would certainly be a much faster build than a traditional type building,” O’Driscoll says of ICF. Thermohouse frequently uses ground granulated blast-furnace slag — a low carbon “green” cement derived from recycled steel industry waste — for its projects too. The company can deliver ultra low U-values by beefing up the outer layer of EPS, and can supply ICF roofing systems too.At Carrigaline, the house has a standard raft foundation, and the ground floor features 140 mm (5.5 inches) of Kingspan Styrozone insulation and another 60 mm (2.4 inches) of Kingspan rigid insulation. The first floor was built with a timber frame system manufactured by local firm Eco Timber Frame. The company’s Donal Spillane calls the project a “flagship house” for the company.The timber frame walls feature 235 mm (9 1/4 inches) of cellulose insulation — essentially recycled newspaper — with a further 50 mm (2 inches) of Rockwool insulation inside the service cavity. Outside, the walls are finished with Austrian larch cladding. The roof boasts 345 mm (13 1/2 inches) of cellulose insulation, and is finished externally with Tegral fiber-cement slates.Eco Timber Frame – who previously worked with Cyril Mannion of Passive House Builders on a certified passive house in Athenry – say they can deliver U-values as good as 0.09 W/m2K with their system. “It’s always a balance between cost and extremely low U-values,” says Donal Spillane. “Once it’s below 0.15 W/m2K, that’s adequate for most situations.” PROJECT TEAM Clients: Sally & John O’LearyArchitects: Wain Morehead Architects Ltd (team: John Morehead, Paul O’Leary, Evan Finnegan)Contractor: Twomey ConstructionQuantity surveyors: Richard Leonard AssociatesCivil/structural engineer: Horgan Lynch Consulting EngineersServices consultants: DW EcoCoAirtightness tester: Tremora LtdTimber frame: Eco Timber FrameInsulated concrete formwork: ThermohouseHeat recovery ventilation: Ollie McPhillips LtdWindows & doors: West Building Products LtdAirtightness products: Ecological Building SystemsSolar thermal system: Kingspan RenewablesRainwater Harvesting: Ireland Waste WaterCeramic heaters: Ceramicx Ltd .Built-in furniture fit out: Classic KitchensSkylights: VeluxThermal breaks: Isokorb by SchöckLarch siding: Unterluggauer , AustriaLower level cladding: Tegral Natura Pelicolour by Tegral Building Products Building envelopeThe couple wanted a timber frame house, but as the design envisaged the house partially nestling into the ground, using timber wasn’t structurally feasible for the lower floor. John Morehead originally planned to use concrete block with external insulation here, but contractor Twomey Construction suggested going with insulated concrete formwork (ICF) instead. PROJECT OVERVIEW Building type: 238 sq. m. (2,562 sq. ft.) detached two-story houseLocation: Carrigaline, County Cork, IrelandSpace heating demand (PHPP): 11kWh/m2/yearHeat load (PHPP): 8W/m2Ground floor: Raft foundation insulated with 140 mm (5.5 in.) Styrozone insulation and 60 mm (2.4 in.) Kingspan insulation. U-value: 0.115 W/m2KGround floor walls: Tegral Natura Pelicolour rainscreen on rendered insulated concrete formwork with 100 mm graphite EPS externally, 50mm graphite EPS internally and a 150/200mm concrete core. 100 mm service cavity insulated with Rockwool and 15mm Fermacell internally. U-value: 0.12 W/m2KFirst floor walls: Timber frame with 22 mm larch cladding externally, followed inside by 50 x 50 mm treated battens and counter-batten, Tyvek UV facade membrane, 22 mm woodfibre board, 235 x 38 mm cellulose-filled timber stud, 15 mm taped and sealed OSB, 50 mm service cavity insulated with Rockwool insulation, and 15 mm Fermacell board internally. U-value: 0.13 W/m2KRoof: Tegral fibre cement slates externally on 50×35 battens/counter battens, followed underneath by breathable roofing underlay, 346 mm timber I-joists fully filled with cellulose insulation, 15 mm taped & sealed OSB, 50 mm uninsulated service cavity, 12.5 mm plasterboard ceiling. U-value: 0.11 W/m2KWindows: Katzbeck triple-glazed aluminum-clad larch windows, with an overall U-value of 0.82 W/m2K and a g-value of 0.55. Velux skylights – with a frame U-value of 1.5 W/m2K, a glass U-value of 0.5 W/m2K and a g-value of 0.46 – were also installedHeating system: Patented electrically powered infrared local ceramic heaters, plus three square meters Kingspan Thermomax solar thermal evacuated tubes. Back-up gas boiler for towel rails in bathroom and radiator in laundry room drying towerVentilation: Paul Santos 370DC heat-recovery ventilation system — Passivhaus Institut certified to have heat recovery rate of 84% / EN 308 certified efficiency of 92.7%Airtightness: 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressureFurniture fit-out: Most of the built-in furniture came from Noblessa, a German fitted furniture manufacturer. All timber used by Noblessa comes from PEFC certified sources Patented heating designMorehead took an unconventional approach when deciding how to heat the house — he designed a unique infrared [electric resistance] heating system that he’s since patented. “We’ve got localized infrared emitters using ceramic elements manufactured in west Cork,” he explains. He says infrared radiation has a wavelength that’s easily absorbed by the skin, meaning it can heat the occupants of the house easily at a lower temperature than is usually required. The house should be run at 18C – in contrast 20C or 22C might be typical in a conventionally heated house.Morehead says that because it only generates a wavelength that is “useful”, it’s extremely efficient. “It heats the person but not the air, permitting the ambient temperature to be maintained throughout the dwelling.”The system can be activated individually in selected rooms, allowing the O’Learys to maintain comfort as required on a room-by-room basis. Powered by mains electricity, it’s also integrated with the house’s heat recovery ventilation system. Sally was happy to be a guinea pig for the infrared system. “[John Morehead] lent me a prototype that I put in the kitchen and I didn’t want to give it back,” she laughs. “If he could design one for every woman’s handbag he’d be the richest man in the country.”Three square meters (32.3 sq. ft.) of Kingspan Thermomax solar thermal collectors help provide hot water, and a Paul Santos 370 DC heat-recovery ventilation system supplied by Ollie McPhilips Ltd features too. The unit is certified by the Passivhaus Institut to deliver a heat recovery rate of 84%, and achieves 92.7 % efficiency according to the EN 308 testing standard. The Santos unit was installed along with Paul Octopus Easy Flex flexible ducting.The O’Learys moved in to the house in April. “At the moment we’re running at a comfortable 20 degrees of temperature constantly, and that’s without heating,” Sally told Construct Ireland in June. “We’re looking forward to minus ten this year! We don’t have any worries.” She jokes that when it does get cold they can “always do something mad like turn on a towel rail.” 
Contractor Brian Twomey says the house presented a combination of challenges — a tricky structure, a unique design and the need to hit the passive standard. “It’s easy to do one but trying to do all just made it that bit more complicated. Every time you consider a junction you have to consider the thermal bridging, the structure, the airtightness and then you’ve got to consider the aesthetics.”The team analyzed the house using thermography to look for cold bridging during the cold snap in January. “We did a lot of work there with the camera during the cold spell and it was remarkable the lack of cold bridging. Obviously the client hasn’t been through a full winter, but we found at the depths of winter…you had guys working inside in their t-shirts,” Twomey says.John Morehead says working with a trusting client and a great team made a potentially awkward build much easier. “It was a joy to work on, which can be rare for such a complex project,” he says.“Everyone involved was locally based, and that was really nice,” he adds. “Everyone knew each other and they were all very interested in achieving the passive house standard.”He says the house is proof that a “reasonable standard” low energy design can go passive without major modifications — and without sacrificing good design. “It doesn’t have to look like something designed by a physicist,” he says.last_img read more