National Life Group announced today a biomass energy project that will meet 90 percent of the heating needs of its Montpelier campus while reducing the company’s annual carbon footprint by 45 percent. The $2 million project, scheduled to be completed in late summer, is expected to cut National Life’s annual usage of heating oil from 210,000 gallons to about 30,000 gallons. The company’s $500,000 annual heating bill will be cut roughly in half.National Life’s 500,000-square-foot headquarters is one of the largest commercial buildings in Vermont.“This project will reduce our reliance on foreign oil, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and will create jobs in our region by supporting our forest products industry,” said Mehran Assadi, president and CEO of National Life Group.Governor Jim Douglas, who attended the announcement, praised National Life’s environmental leadership. “This company is a corporate leader when it comes to energy and the environment,” he said, noting that National Life hosts one of the largest solar electricity installations in the state.Last year the U.S. Green Building Council awarded National Life’s 50-year-old headquarters silver certification under the Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.National Life’s new heating system will use two biomass boilers to burn carbon-neutral woodchips from local renewable sources as fuel. A bin to hold the woodchips will be built below ground near the building’s entrance. The biomass energy system is expected to be fully functional by the end of the summer.The Montpelier-based Biomass Energy Resource Center, BERC, worked closely with National Life in the development of the biomass system. Currently there are more than 70 wood-burning biomass heating and cooling systems in use throughout Vermont, primarily in schools. National Life will be one of only a few commercial office buildings to use such a system.According to BERC, woodchip biomass systems are carbon neutral and have lower sulfur dioxide and net greenhouse gas emissions than both oil and propane. In addition, a sophisticated electrostatic precipitator and exhaust filtration system will remove on average 98 percent of any particles from the emissions, further minimizing any pollution. However, because the woodchips are green and nearly half water, occasional steam plumes may be released through the building’s emissions stack.According to Tim Shea, who spearheaded the project for National Life, “What is remarkable to me is that we’ll be heating approximately 500,000 square feet of building with the biomass system this winter and the emissions will only be that of about 12 woodstoves.” Shea said the new biomass system will cost approximately $2 million and will pay for itself in savings within five to six years.At National Life, environmental stewardship has been a long-standing commitment. In addition to the new biomass system there are numerous employee efforts to lessen the company’s impact on the environment, including recycling shredded paper for reuse as animal bedding and composting food waste. Other energy efficiency projects on the campus include installation of a 73kW solar photovoltaic system to help power the campus, a solar thermal system, water-saving fixtures in the restrooms, energy-saving light ballasts and bulbs, and more efficient air conditioners in the data center.Source: National Life. 5.12.2010
Brisbane’s home value index has knocked out growth in July at a time when all other capital cities are going backwards. Picture: iStockBRISBANE is the only Australian capital to come away from July with a rise in home values, with latest data showing every other major city has gone backwards.The month-to-date data, which will be updated tomorrow (Wednesday) found Brisbane’s index had just managed to keep its toes in positive territory (up 0.1 per cent over the month to July 30) at a time when other capitals were red-lining including Sydney (-0.6 per cent), Melbourne (-0.9 per cent), Adelaide (-0.1 per cent) and Perth (-0.8 per cent). CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher told The Courier-Mail that the CoreLogic daily hedonic index was tracking 0.6 per cent lower across the combined capitals in July — with the weak reading dragged down by Sydney and Melbourne.“Brisbane may be the only major capital to record a lift in dwelling values over the month,” he said. The home that $5.6m can’t buy TV personality’s dream home up for rent Top 10 suburbs for upgraders “It’s been a pretty rapid slowdown happening in Sydney, Values are falling in Melbourne as well — probably not quite as rapid as in Sydney but after long period of growth it is slowing.”“It looks like Brisbane will be the only capital city where values will be higher over the month,” he said, much of which was attributed to the city “starting to see the impact of an immigration pick up”.Among the sales notched in July was 21 Firhill Street, Ashgrove — a two bedroom cottage — that sold for $768,000 yesterday (July 30), which was about $243,000 more than the owners paid five years ago — a jump of 46 per cent in price, according to CoreLogic records. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago21 Firhill St, Ashgrove — a two bedroom cottage — sold for $768,000 yesterday (July 30). Source: realestate.com.auThe year to date figures were also a wakeup call for the rest of the capitals, with Sydney down -3.2 per cent and Melbourne -2.6 per cent, he said.Brisbane was positive on that front too though “values are only up 0.4 per cent so far this year” for the Queensland capital.“You can see a clear trend emerging that growth in pretty much all cities is slowing and that the decline in Sydney and Melbourne more rapid.”This as the latest Housing Industry Association Residential Land report out Friday found per square metre Brisbane lots were cheaper to buy ($572sqm) than all major capitals except Hobart ($221sqm), with Sydney at $1,120 sqm, Melbourne $832 sqm, Perth $751 sqm and Adelaide $572 sqm. Among homes listed as having sold in July was that of Fiona Hatch in Nundah which went for $2.025m on July 9 according to CoreLogic records. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning.CoreLogic’s commercial research analyst, Eliza Owen, said the hedonic indices came out a higher frequency than the land reports “so won’t reflect the same demand”.But, she added, “given we’re now seeing most of the capital city housing markets moving to the downturn of their cycle, I would expect land prices to follow that eventually, particularly seeing a bit of pressure is coming off demand in Sydney and Melbourne.”The median lot price in Brisbane was now $242,000, compared to $359,000 in Melbourne and $467,500 in Sydney. firstname.lastname@example.org FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK read more
Brentford goalkeeper David Button pulled off a sensational stop during his side’s victory over Preston on Saturday.The 26-year-old was going the wrong way when Paul Gallagher flicked Paul Huntington’s shot goalwards but somehow managed to flick the ball onto the bar and away to safety.