Reviving Old Masonry Buildings

first_imgA New York City firm that specializes in materials for high-performance buildings has published an online book that explains how historic masonry buildings can be retrofitted using the products that the company sells.High Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits is the work of 475 High Performance Building Supply, the Brooklyn-based company. Along with a number of CAD drawings, the book is available as a free download.The book leans heavily on the core concepts of airtightness and continuous insulation that are keys to Passivhaus construction, 475 co-founder and lead author Ken Levenson said in a press release. In addition to running 475, Levenson, an architect by training, also is co-president of the North American Passive House Network and president of New York Passive House.Other contributors include Levenson’s business partner, Floris Keverling Buisman, and two 475 employees, John Druelinger and Justin Uhr.“The idea came about because there is a real lack of comprehensive and practical details that relate to typical conditions for high performance construction — particularly ones that don’t rely on foam insulation,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We realized that giving architects and other professionals a few simple tools could really unlock a move to much more robust detailing and execution. Of course these are meant to be just the start of the process.” Drawings can be downloadedDrawings that appear in the book can be downloaded, also for free, allowing architects to edit and adapt them for use on their own projects. To do so, you’ll need software for CAD drawings. Levenson recommends one called DraftSight.The book is to be the first in a series of e-books about a variety of construction types, 475 said. Each will focus on insulation, air-sealing and foam-free construction.Hardcopies of Historic Masonry Retrofits are to be published in early 2015. The no-foam approachThe techniques recommended in this book do not include the use of plastic foam insulation. “Foam plastic insulation dominates high-performance and green construction today, a clear victory of the power of chemical company marketing over common sense,” the book’s introduction says. “First used in buildings as roof insulation, now it too often metastasizes around our entire building enclosure.”Despite its popularity, the authors write, foam insulation is made of dangerous ingredients and is both a fire accelerant and fire hazard. Its thermal performance degrades over time, and its performance ultimately is “unpredictable and unreliable.”There’s another reason the authors don’t advocate the use of foam: a tenet of historic preservation is that installations be reversible. Foam isn’t.“Admittedly, this information may cause disorientation — given the near sacrosanct position foam currently holds in the high-performance construction industry — but we can do better,” the book says. “We can do much, much better.”center_img Use cautionSome recommendations in the book, such as those on insulating exterior walls, probably won’t be accepted by all building scientists. The book distributed by 475 recommends insulating thick brick walls on the interior with cellulose or fiberglass insulation — a controversial method. When asked about this approach, building scientist John Straube said, “I have qualms.”The book notes, “Freeze-thaw damage [to bricks] … is a serious concern and needs to be fully examined before installing inboard insulation as illustrated in these pages. However, as we also note the risks can be mitigated and relatively high levels of insulation can be safely achieved. Again, it all depends. So do your homework on that, and given that freeze-thaw concerns are dealt with properly, one concern that remains, with added insulation and colder assembly surfaces, is the potential for mold growth.”Some owners of older brick buildings have been dismayed to discover that adding interior insulation to walls resulted in severe damage to bricks. Another danger posed by interior insulation is rot to the ends of embedded joists or beams. To learn more about these issues, see the warnings in this GBA article: Insulating Old Brick Buildings.last_img read more

In Jodhpur, a tableau on Mohammed Afrazul’s alleged killer Shambu Lal Raigar

first_imgA tableau on Shambhu Lal Raigar, who had allegedly hacked and burnt to death a 48-year-old Muslim labourer from West Bengal, Mohammed Afrazaul, at Rajsamand in December last year, was taken out during a Ram Navmi procession in Jodhpur on Sunday. The tableau depicted a Raigar lookalike man with a pickaxe in his hand.Dressed in clothes similar to what Raigar was wearing when he appeared on a video footage while killing Afrazul, a man bearing a striking resemblance with him sat on a throne-like chair in the tableau. For a brief duration, the tableau also showed a man lying in front of the Raigar look alike and the latter making a gesture of hitting him.A huge banner hung at the tableau called upon Hindus to “protect [their] sisters and daughters and liberate the country from Love Jihad”. It stated: “Hindu bhaiyon jago, apni bahan beti bachao. Love Jihad se desh ko azad karana chahiye.”The banner also carried pictures of the tableau’s sponsor, Shiv Sena leader Hari Singh, with folded hands, and Raigar along with a pickaxe.Raigar, lodged in the Jodhpur Central jail pending his trial, had filmed the act of killing Afrazul and posted the video on social media.Police were yet to take any action against the organisers. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jodhpur East) Amandeep Singh said the police had not received any complaints. However, he said he had learnt about the tableau from the local media persons.The procession marking Ram Navmi has been taken out in Jodhpur for the last 35 years. For more than a decade, it has been organised under the banner of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The organisers claim that the tableaux generally depict the subjects of public interest and current affairs.This is not the first instance of Raigar getting support from the hardline groups. A week after he was convicted, hundreds of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and VHP activists had taken out a protest march in Udaipur and clashed with the police at the Court Circle. The protesters had also unfurled a saffron flag on the District Court building.last_img read more

India-England draw first Test at Trent Bridge

first_imgIndia’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni is bowled by England’s Liam Plunkett for 11 runs during the first cricket test match at Trent Bridge cricket ground in Nottingham, England July 13, 2014. Reuters India drew their first cricket Test with England thanks to some heroics from Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar on the final day at the Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Sunday.India finished the day with 391 for nine declared in the second innings, a massive lead of 430 runs, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar unbeaten on 63, his second half-century of the match, and Mohammad Shami, who was not out on four.England raised hopes of an unlikely win after picking up three quick wickets for 17 runs in the vital first session to reduce India to a precarious 184 for six. But followed next was a great fight-back by the tailenders, who ensured that England continue their winless streak to nine matches, with some gutsy batting.Binny struck a valuable 78, his debut Test fifty, to save the day for India. It was an entertaining knock from Binny, who had two crucial partnerships with Ravindra Jadeja (31) and Bhuvneshwar.Binny, who hit eight fours and a six in his 114-ball knock, was first involved in a 65-run stand with Jadeja that helped the team recover from a precarious 184 for six and then took India to a position of strength adding 91-runs for the eighth wicket with Bhuvneshwar.Resuming the day at 167/3, India were put on the back-foot right in the first over of the day after Virat Kohli (8) was trapped plumb in front by fast bowler Stuart Broad. The local boy struck again in his next over to get rid of Ajinkya Rahane (24), who flashed outside the off and edged to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.advertisementWith India struggling at 173 for five, the expectations were immense from India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a repeat of his heroic 82 in the first innings. But Dhoni managed barely 11 before being castled by a Liam Plunkett.Jadeja, who took 38 balls to get his first run, and Binny then fought back valiantly with their 46-run stand for the unfinished seventh wicket stand. Jadeja had a tough time right from the start and finally found the first run, a four straight over the pacer James Anderson’s head that also drew an applause from the bowler.Having gone wicketless, Binny was also determined to prove his credentials as a handy batsman. The Karnataka all-rounder used his feet well for his three fours and the cover drive off Liam Plunkett was a treat to watch.Binny and Jadeja helped India recover well from a precarious 184 for six to reach 230 at lunch. It was the introduction of the new ball that ended the partnership after Jadeja edged to Prior off Anderson ending his 98-ball vigil that had five fours. It was the first time in his career that Jadeja played more than 50 deliveries.Binny and Bhuvneshwar then scored quickly as 91 runs of the partnership came from 19 overs. Binny got to his debut Test half-century in style plundering Plunkett for 11 runs in the 90th over that also had two well-timed fours. He had a century in sight but was trapped lbw by Moeen Ali with a tossed up delivery.Bhuvneshwar got to his second half-century of the match in style as he struck part-time spinner Joe Root for two crisply timed fours as he scored nine runs from the over. Bhuvneshwar and Ishant Sharma (13) added another valuable 47 runs for the ninth wicket to take the lead past the 400-run mark. Ishant became England skipper Alastair Cook’s maiden Test wicket before both the sides decided to settle for a draw.last_img read more

Community Colleges Undertaking More Research – CCCJ

first_imgStory Highlights Executive Director for the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ), Dr. Donna Powell-Wilson, says this year’s CCCJ International Conference highlighted the fact that more research is being undertaken by community colleges. “Most of the research [findings presented during] the conference came from [community college] faculties. This means that in the colleges, we are paying more attention to research, which is good,” she told JIS News following the three-day conference’s closing ceremony at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James on Friday (January 11). Dr. Powell-Wilson further stated that the CCCJ recognizes the importance of empowering the colleges’ support staff, noting this was a key focus area for discussions during the conference. Executive Director for the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ), Dr. Donna Powell-Wilson, says this year’s CCCJ International Conference highlighted the fact that more research is being undertaken by community colleges.“Most of the research [findings presented during] the conference came from [community college] faculties. This means that in the colleges, we are paying more attention to research, which is good,” she told JIS News following the three-day conference’s closing ceremony at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James on Friday (January 11).Dr. Powell-Wilson further stated that the CCCJ recognizes the importance of empowering the colleges’ support staff, noting this was a key focus area for discussions during the conference.“We recognize that they are the first point of contact in our institutions and our students need to know that the support staff is there to aid them,” further she told JIS News.Students were also integrally involved in the conference, and were the focal point of some of the sessions.Several of them, along with community college staff, were presented with scholarships and awards during the opening ceremony.Dr. Powell-Wilson pointed out that the Council has seen a sharp increase in the number of students applying for scholarships during the 2018/19 academic year, and anticipates further increases next year, based on developments at the conference.“We really hope that the word will now be out in institutions and persons will be enthused to apply,” she said, adding that applicants must have a minimum 3.5 grade point average to qualify.last_img read more