Energy Efficient Housing’s Uphill Battle in Japan

first_imgLike most musicians at the top of their game, West Coast five-string banjo master Bill Evans peppers his schedule with plenty of performance tours, including the occasional trip overseas. One of those engagements took him to Kobe, Japan, where he experienced firsthand both the thrill of playing to Japan’s extremely receptive bluegrass fans and the wintertime chill of a typical Japanese home.Bill, who was my long-suffering banjo teacher when I lived in the Bay Area, told me that upon returning to his hosts’ home after his performance, he decided to write a song inspired by his visit to Kobe. He added, however, that his musical creation was greatly facilitated by a decidedly nonmusical device – a spot-heating gadget on a patch of floor in the home, which, like many houses in Japan, lacked a central HVAC system.“The house was very cold … and my hosts instructed me to sit on a carpet placed in the middle of the living room floor,” Bill explained in an email. “These heated carpets can get you very warm very quickly. I pulled my banjo out and, sitting on the rug, I finished composing the tune.”The song turned out well (click here for a listen), and as he mulled possible titles, Bill considered using whatever exotic name the Japanese use for the heated carpet. It turns out, though, the name for the carpet is hot-to carpet-to. Perhaps the principal reason Bill went with “Kobe Blues.”A change of tune for Japan’s builders?Being called on the heated carpet was a unique experience for Bill. But it is a familiar one for the Japanese, whose homebuilders, as a recent Deutsche-Welle TV video feature points out, offer some beautiful and ingenious designs and fixtures, but tend to favor an extremely light touch when insulating residential exteriors and a “personal device” touch when conditioning interiors. Sitting on or near heat-broadcasting appliances – toilets and carpets, blanketed tables (kotatsu) whose undersides are equipped with heating elements, and kerosene burners – is, observes Toyko-based online magazine SNOW, a widely shared experience during the winter months.The encouraging news is that some sectors of the housing industry seem to have begun inching toward energy efficient construction, at least in principle. The Deutsche-Welle video, for example, focuses on the green-construction advocacy of Miwa Mori, an architect with Key Architects, in Kanagawa. One of Mori’s exemplary projects is a Japanese home built to Passivhaus standards.Too, the Japanese government recently began subsidizing the construction of well-insulated buildings, Deutsche-Welle notes in the video narrative, which also includes affirming comments by a representative of one of the leading industry groups, the Japan Federation of Housing Organizations. The representative, Takao Fujimura, tells the interviewer that “current laws are sufficient” to propel the industry toward greener construction and that “if the leading companies’ guidelines become the industry standard, we’ll improve our energy footprint even more.”Mori is skeptical of the JFHO party line, however. The market for well-insulated housing, she says, is still too small to motivate Japan’s big prefab-construction manufacturers to invest in better-insulated shells, roofs, and foundations. “It’s too expensive for them,” she says. “They want maximum profits. It will take a law to get them to change.”last_img read more

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Ayodhya case: appellants accuse UP govt of ‘non-neutrality’

first_imgThe Muslim appellants in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute on Thursday criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for taking a “non-neutral stance” in the Supreme Court.They said the State government had shed its promise of staying neutral in the Ayodhya land dispute.The appellants were referring to arguments before a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the previous hearing.On July 6, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State, strongly objected to the appellants’ persistent plea for the case to be referred to a Constitution Bench.The appellants wanted a Constitution Bench to first decide the question of whether a mosque is essential to Islam. They questioned a line in the 1994 apex court judgment in the Ismail Farooqui case, which says Muslims can pray “anywhere, even in the open”. They argued that Islam would collapse without its mosques to congregate and pray.Mr. Mehta had wondered why the appellants had raised this question eight years after the Ayodhya case came to the Supreme Court in 2010. He submitted that there was something “inherently wrong” with the request.Lashing out on Thursday, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, representing the appellants, said Mr. Mehta’s remarks were “uncalled for”.“The non-neutrality of the officer of the State is evident… They have accused one party of lack of bona fide… this is impermissible and a breach of faith,” Mr. Dhavan submitted.He pointed out that the ASG was a law officer of the Centre, which is in fact the ‘Statutory Receiver’ of the area in dispute under the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act of 1993 and thus should have maintained a neutral stance.Mr. Dhawan brushed aside the position taken by Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi to settle for a new mosque in a “Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram”.Mr. Rizvi, through his counsel, traced the lineage of the Babri Masjid, which was razed down by karsevaks on December 6, 1992, to Mir Baqi, a Shia noble in Mughal Emperor Babur’s court. He claimed Babri Masjid was a Shia waqf (endowment).“I do not even want to respond to these submissions,” Mr. Dhavan reacted.At one point, Mr. Dhawan sarcastically said the idea of giving up the legal fight now, as suggested by Mr. Rizvi, would amount to an “indulgent act of charity”.last_img read more

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Matchups for the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors

first_imgTwo-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Golden State: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.Toronto: Kyle Lowry and Danny Green.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsAnalysis: All respect to Lowry, whose toughness and leadership are both comically overlooked because people tend to see only scoring, but this matchup clearly tilts Golden State’s way. Curry and Thompson have averaged 42.5 points combined in their first 22 finals games together and even on their bad days are two of the most feared shooters in the game. Toronto simply needs more from Green, who is shooting only 32 percent in the playoffs and 31 percent from 3-point range. Toronto won the last four games of the Eastern Conference finals even while Green went a staggering 1 for 15 from 3-point range. But he’s had enormous moments in the finals before, and is a 52 percent shooter from 3-point land in 12 previous finals games.Edge: Warriors. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert recovering after stroke symptoms ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting View commentscenter_img PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss STARTING FORWARDSGolden State: Kevin Durant/Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green.Toronto: Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam.Analysis: Durant isn’t expected to be available for Game 1 because of his calf strain, and it remains unclear if he’ll play at any point in the finals. Iguodala is a past Finals MVP and Green may be playing the best basketball of his life right now, with keeping his emotions in check yet another bonus for the Warriors. Siakam has had great moments in these playoffs and is likely the most improved player in the NBA this season. But this matchup comes down to Leonard, who has willed the Raptors through every tough moment they’ve faced in the postseason and has put himself in the best-player-in-the-world-right-now conversation. The Leonard vs. Green (or Iguodala) matchup when the Raptors have the ball will be fascinating.Edge: Even, based on the plan that Durant is missing some of the series.ADVERTISEMENT Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. OAKLAND, CA – DECEMBER 12: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles on his knees while being guarded by Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors at ORACLE Arena on December 12, 2018 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFPThe position matchup breakdown for the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors:STARTING GUARDSADVERTISEMENT PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess COACHINGGolden State: Steve Kerr.Toronto: Nick Nurse.Analysis: Kerr won five rings as a player, has three already as a coach and somehow seems to always push the right buttons. Nurse has dealt incredibly well with the pressure that accompanied being a first-year coach who just happened to be replacing the reigning NBA coach of the year in Dwane Casey and had to lead a win-now-or-else team that went all in on moves to get players like Leonard and Gasol.Edge: Warriors.INTANGIBLESThe Warriors have 10 players with a combined 140 games of finals experience; the Raptors have four players who have been in a combined 38 finals games. And the Warriors’ total doesn’t even count 49 finals games for Kerr (27 as a player, 22 as a coach). … First time in the finals for Toronto, last time in the finals for Oakland — the Warriors are leaving Oracle Arena for the new Chase Center in San Francisco after this season. … By the time the finals start, the Warriors will have gone 24 days since losing a game (May 6, Game 4 of the West semis against Houston) and by the time the series shifts to Oakland on June 5 they will have gone 20 days without a home game. … Toronto won the regular-season series 2-0. Before that, the Warriors had won 16 of the last 18 games between the teams.Edge: Warriors, because of the experience factor. STARTING CENTERGolden State: Jordan Bell (presumably).Toronto: Marc Gasol.Analysis: Gasol has waited a long time for this first taste of the finals, and Bell — if he does actually start, which is in some doubt — has 35 points in 11 games this postseason. And don’t be surprised if DeMarcus Cousins, who has never played in a finals game and missed most of these playoffs with a quad injury, is back on the floor early in the series for the Warriors and back as a starter not long after that. So far in the playoffs, Gasol has made more 3s (28) than 2s (27) and 55% of his points have come from beyond the 3-point line.Edge: Raptors, largely because of the uncertainty surrounding Cousins’ availability.BENCHGolden State: Kevon Looney, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Andrew Bogut.Toronto: Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka.Analysis: The Warriors’ bench rotation will change if Cousins and/or Durant return. Golden State has averaged 24.6 points off the bench in the playoffs, which doesn’t look so hot, but a deeper dive shows how effective certain things have been for the Warriors. Looney has been fantastic, shooting 72% (50 for 69) in 329 minutes off the bench, and Livingston is looking for his fourth ring as a key reserve. Ibaka, assuming he doesn’t start at center, will get big minutes for Toronto and plays the two-man game with Leonard like they’ve been together for seven years instead of seven months. And VanVleet came up big time and time again toward the end of the East finals, his emotions bolstered by the birth of his son midway through that matchup.Edge: Raptors, slightly.last_img read more

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