Energy Efficiency for Green Living

power houseThere are many factors that contribute to greening a building. Of these, energy is an extremely important part of the equation. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) recognized this fact when they named their green building program LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Energy costs can be a surprisingly large part of the cost of owning and operating a building. As a hypothetical example, a home with average energy bills of a $300/month (heating, cooling, and electricity) will cost the owners $3600/year for the power it uses, which adds up to over $100,000 over the span of a 30-year mortgage, and approaches half a million dollars if the building stands for more than 100 years. In many cases, the cost of the energy used over the life of a building is more than the cost of the materials used to construct the building in the first place.

In order to reduce these energy costs, it is important to first identify the major energy uses. The needs and energy uses at your particular location can be a major factor in determining the best strategies for improving efficiency and reducing energy use. Additional attic insulation is much more necessary and effective in a cold northern-climate location, where heating is a major component of the building's energy use, than it is in a hot southern-climate location, where cooling is responsible for much more of the energy needs.

In some parts of the United States, homeowners can find home performance contractors working with the Home Performance with Energy Star program to evaluate the existing conditions of the house and provide upgrades to increase its performance. There are case studies from different parts of the country that explain how these contractors work with the program to improve not only the energy efficiency, but also the comfort of homes.

For the more DIY-inclined homeowner, the USGBC also offers a list of 16 Ways to Green Your Home, including simple steps such as installing a programmable thermostat, tuning up your heating and cooling system, sealing air leaks, and using Enrgy Star appliances.

Whether you adopt a whole house approach or just target known sources of energy use, like getting a new, energy efficient refrigerator (particularly if your current model is over 15 years old) or replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, the benefits of a greener approach to your power use will pay itself back through lowered energy bills.

`Parking Visionary’ to solve congestion woes

New Straits Times January 21, 2011 | Gunaprasath

Gunaprasath New Straits Times 01-21-2011 `Parking Visionary’ to solve congestion woes Byline: Gunaprasath Edition: Main/Lifestyle Section: Property Column: Focus see here best parking nyc

WITH the government’s Greater Kuala Lumpur initiative, the Klang Valley is expected to boom. Unfortunately, so too will the attendant problem of traffic congestion which is of great concern to motorists who live, work or have to travel there.

The problem A critical problem seems to be the lack of parking space in busy commercial areas. Despite developers’ efforts in producing high- tech structures for the commercial scene, some areas, such as parking lots, are sometimes overlooked without considering convenience to users, operators and property owners.

This has snowballed into issues such as illegal parking, double- or even triple-parking.

Illegal parking is perhaps the biggest headache contributing to chaotic traffic congestion that motorists have to endure daily. Yes, even during weekends when offices are closed but not the shopping malls and other places of attraction, recreation and entertainment.

The problem persists because inconsiderate motorists want to save a few ringgit on parking. Also, there is a lack of enforcement by the police and local authorities.

Even if there are parking facilities available at such areas, the charges can be exorbitant, so many motorists resort to double- or triple-parking in certain areas despite risk of being slapped with a fine – or getting “yellow tagged” in Taipan USJ, Subang.

There are several multi-storey parking complexes for the public in congested areas such as PJ New Town, Damansara Uptown and Taipan in USJ in Selangor. However, many motorists refuse to use these indoor parking facilities as they are not willing to pay the high parking charges.

“The centre-bound car-parking facility in Taipan is inconvenient, troublesome and expensive,” said Jarimah Abdullah, who lives in USJ and frequents the business centre to run errands.

Jason Tham, an executive working at Taipan, added, “It is so inconvenient as there is a cap to the open bay parking lots. You can only insert coins for a maximum of only one hour. Longer than that, you would have to use the multi-storey parking facility. If I park there, it would take me another 10 minutes to walk to my office. Imagine if it rains!”

According to Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) president Adnan Md Ikshan, capping the open parking limit is a move to curb traffic congestion in the area, which is largely caused by doubleparking.

Has this solved the issue or made it more inconvenient to motorists?

Then, there are the security issues at such parking facilities. They are usually manned by only two or three persons including a cashier, making it easier for robbers to target victims. Recently, a local daily reported that a female motorist who had a monthly pass to park at a parking complex in Petaling Jaya was robbed when she was walking to her car after working late one night. Fortunately, she was unharmed. web site best parking nyc

What the `Parking Visionary’ says

According to Datuk Lennon Tan, chairman of Takashimaya Construction & Development Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor of Takashimaya’s Automated Valet Parking System, we are facing parking space and congestion issues because 15,070sq ft of space can fit only 67 cars.

Hence, to fit a reasonable number of, say, 400 cars in each commercial building, the land size for parking has to increase by at least six times.

Otherwise, building a regular multi-level car park on 15,070sq ft of land would be a solution, but that will only hold 210 cars.

Tan said the solution is to implement Takashimaya’s Automated Valet Parking System.

“First ever in Malaysia, this parking system will be deployed in the upcoming Times Avenue Executive Office building, which will be available in 2013.”

How it works

The car is driven onto an automated platform, which is triggered at the swipe of the parking card. The system’s computer will instruct the lift to transport the car to the best available position while taking into account other ingress and egress requests in queue. The process is quick and safe and saves the motorist hassle and time.

“No more driving around aimlessly in circles wasting petrol, no more double-parking, no more compounds, no more paying sky-high parking rates, and most importantly, no more getting robbed as this system is fully computerised.

“A simple swipe of the parking card is all it takes to get your car delivered back to you before you make a safe, hassle-free exit,” explained Tan.

He believes this system will eradicate the parking congestion issues we are currently facing and will be in line with the government’s vision for Greater KL.

“Tan is a visionary for parking solutions and is doing something about this issue by bringing to our shores a proven overseas solution.

“Hence, if this system is implemented in major commercial districts, authorities need not write summon notes, or place yellow tags on cars any longer, as this problem would be solved. Why penalise when you can prevent?” said Kiara Realty chief operating officer Don Tan.

For details on Takashimaya’s Automated Valet Parking System, surf to www.tksmy.com

Gunaprasath

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