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SA’s World Cup ticket vigil

first_imgBongani Nkosi Ernest Maduna was all smiles after buying his tickets for the 2010 Fifa World Cup matches. Youssef Moola spent a night at a queue at Maponya Mall for the tickets. Charmaine Brown (left) and fellow Bafana Bafana supporters were also in the queue for tickets. (Images: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fifa Delia Fischer Media Officer +27 11 567 2010 +27 11 567 2524 +27 83 201 0470 [email protected] • Local Organising Committee Jermaine Craig Media Manager +27 11 567 2010 +27 83 201 0121 [email protected] RELATED ARTICLES • World Cup ticket sales simplified • Soccer Cinema to inspire SA • SA starts the 2010 countdown • World Cup ticket sales soar • World Cup fever spreads abroad • Interpol: a safe World Cup • Top 32 for 2010 Fifa World Cup Ernest Maduna, in his early 20s, spent the night outside Maponya Mall in Soweto, just to be part of history – to be in the stadium at 2010 Fifa World Cup matches in his home country.From Carltonville, about 75km west of Johannesburg’s city centre, Maduna knew scores of football fans from Johannesburg and beyond would descend on the mall, home to one of the Fifa Ticketing centres, when over-the counter sales opened at 9am on 15 April. So he decided to get there the day before, to beat the queues.“I came here yesterday,” he said, three tickets clutched in his hand. “I slept out in the cold.”The 11 Fifa Ticketing centres, in the nine host cities, make it easier for fans to get their hands on tickets, as they can be bought directly over the counter instead of via complicated application forms. The 600 First National Bank (FNB) branches used for applications are also open.The Fifa centres, as well as Shoprite and Checkers retail stores, are also collection points for tickets purchased from FNB, the Fifa call centre and on the Fifa website.Maduna had wanted tickets for a Bafana Bafana match, but settled for three for the Ghana versus Germany game, a Group D match to be played at Soccer City in Johannesburg on 23 June.“I wanted tickets for Bafana Bafana. But they got sold out,” he said. But that didn’t dampen his spirits. Approached by an international journalist, he flourished his tickets and said: “I am happy. This is what I came here for.”Maduna got his tickets just after noon, an indication of the scores of people who also spent the night in the queue, ahead of him.“When I arrived here at 6am there were already about 400 people waiting for us to open,” said Richard Lalla, a Maponya Mall ticketing centre manager.Enjoying the tournament with friendsYoussef Moola, a medical student at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), also spent the night in the queue, arriving at 5pm the previous day. His friends, Saad Khan and Abdullah Ismail, joined him later.Between them they bought more than 50 tickets between the three of them. Mohammed Manga, another friend and also a medical student at Wits, said the tickets would be distributed among the group of friends and family members.They were able to get 10 tickets for the final match, to be played in Soccer City on 11 July. “It was a long wait, but it’s worth it,” said Moola.Manga didn’t spare praise for Moola’s overnight vigil. “He made history,” he said. “He’s the main man, the mastermind behind the plan to get tickets.”For Manga, and the thousands of other South Africans snapping up tickets, it’s all about supporting a spectacle to be played in Africa for the first time since its inception in 1930. “It’s coming to my country,” Manga said. “I have to support it; I have to be there.”‘It’s closer to home’Charlotte Brown, from Soweto’s Eldorado Park township, brought a camping chair to the snaking queue. With a large South African flag draped over her shoulders, she moved her chair bit by bit as the queue slowly proceeded.She knew tickets would be sold out for the matches she really wanted, for the opening match between South Africa and Mexico on 11 June, or any Bafana group match. So Brown went for tickets to Brazil versus Côte d’Ivoire, a Group G match on 6 June in Soccer City. The match, she said, was “my son’s favourite”.Brown, who was hoping to get about 20 tickets, said she was only buying tickets for matches to be played in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park and Soccer City stadiums. “The stadiums are convenient, they are closer to us.”‘The turnout was brilliant’All the ticket centres and FNB branches across the country had massive turnout. The country was abuzz with news of scores of people queuing up for tickets as from the evening of 14 April.About 53 000 tickets were sold countrywide within eight hours of the first day. A total of 23 matches, including the opening game, the final and the two semi-finals are sold out, said Fifa.“[The turnout] was absolutely brilliant,” said Lalla, the ticketing centre manager.The huge volume of ticket sales eventually crashed FNB’s computer system, but service was restored by about 2.50pm. The bank, which operates between 9am and 4pm, extended its working hours to 5pm.“Ninety per cent of the ticket requests were done at the 600 FNB branches and we appreciate their work and cooperation even when under enormous pressure,” Horst R Schmidt, chair of the Fifa Ticketing Sub-Committee, said in a statement.Ticketing centres and all the other sales channels will be open throughout the tournament.last_img read more


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Does Green Building Have to Cost More?

first_imgHaving written about green building for more than twenty years now, I’ve encountered lots of misperceptions. One of those is that green building always has to cost a lot more than conventional building. There are plenty of examples where it does cost more (sometimes significantly more), but it doesn’t have to, and green choices can even reduce costs in some cases. Let me explain.When someone is considering building a green home, my first, number-one recommendation is to keep the size down. Since 1950, the average house size in the U.S. has more than doubled, while family size has dropped by 25% — so we’re providing 2.8 times more area per person than we were back then. If you think you need a 3,000 square-foot house, consider whether 2,500 would suffice, or even less. There are some really great homes being built at 1,400 to 1,500 square feet — homes where every square foot is optimally used and there aren’t rooms, like formal dining rooms, that sit empty most of the time.Often, because we’re conditioned to think that bigger is better or because we’re told by a real estate agent that a house has to be large to keep its value, we build the largest home possible. By stretching budgets to maximize square footage, we’re then often forced to skimp on quality and performance. If, instead, we downsize the house, we can improve its quality (durability, detailing, energy efficiency, green features), and we might even be able to reduce the overall costs.With green building, there may be some other ways to lower costs that don’t require reducing the house size. At the development scale, if we design an onsite infiltration system for stormwater (rather than building a stormwater retention pond or installing storm sewers) that could both reduce costs and make the project greener. With larger facilities, it’s sometimes possible to save millions of dollars with such changes — paying for all of the additional green features.Where we build can also influence cost. By clustering houses in a development, we can reduce the total amount of pavement, the length of utility lines, and other associated infrastructure costs. By putting a house fairly close to the access road, we both save costs and reduce the impacts of that additional pavement and material usage.Relative to materials, there are some important ways to use materials more efficiently and save money. With “advanced framing,” studs and rafters (or roof trusses) can be installed 24 inches on-center, rather than the standard 16 inches, reducing the amount of wood used in construction. By carefully planning overall building dimensions and ceiling heights, one can optimize material use and reduce cut-off waste.And it’s sometimes possible to have a structural material serve as a finished surface, obviating the need for an additional layer. This can be done when structural floor slabs are made into finished floors (often by pigmenting and/or polishing the concrete), or when a masonry block is used that has a decorative face, eliminating the need for another wall finish.When it comes to energy, building a green, energy-efficient house usually does increase costs. But we can significantly reduce that extra cost — occasionally even eliminate it — by practicing “integrated energy design.” If we spend more money on the building envelope (more insulation, tighter construction detailing, and better windows) so that we dramatically reduce the heating and cooling loads, we can often save money on the heating and cooling equipment. With a really tight, energy-efficient house, for example, we might be able to eliminate the $10,000 to $15,000 distributed heating system in favor of one or two simple, through-the-wall-vented, high-efficiency gas space heaters, or even a few strips of electric resistance heat.If, along with that really well-insulated envelope, we carefully select east- and west-facing window glazings that block most of the solar gain and provide natural shading from appropriately planted trees, we might even be able to eliminate central air conditioning.These savings on mechanical equipment can cover a lot of the added cost of the improved building envelope. In rare cases, these savings in heating and cooling equipment (if we eliminate a really expensive system, such as a ground-source heat pump, for example), we can pay for all of the envelope improvements and even reduce the total project cost.I invite you to share your comments on this blog.To keep up with my latest articles and musings, you can sign up for my Twitter feedsED’s NOTE:Strangely enough I published a short blog topic with almost the exact same title about a month ago. In it, I linked to several green home articles here on GBA that profile high quality, energy efficient, and affordable homes. Give it a peek!–DMlast_img read more


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A Habitat in Mississippi Follows Two Paths to Green

first_imgA lot of Habitat for Humanity affiliates have been pushing hard to boost the performance of the homes that they, their homebuyer-clients, and teams of volunteers build, all the while keeping final costs in the affordable realm.Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, in northwestern Vermont, has committed to a three-home development in Charlotte in which the first house will incorporate Passive House construction and performance standards. (Groundbreaking for that project was June 18.) The Habitat affiliate in Prescott, Arizona, collaborated with students from the Yavapai College Residential Building Technology program to help design and construct a 1,200-sq.-ft. home that operates at net zero energy. And one of the 20 contenders in the 2011 Solar Decathlon – a student-and-faculty team representing The New School and Stevens Institute of Technology – is developing a solar-powered Habitat home for residents of a low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C.Another affiliate chasing the dream of green and affordable is Bay-Waveland Habitat for Humanity, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which last week announced that one of its builds recently earned LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Perhaps just as important, Bay-Waveland Habitat intends to make improved construction standards routine. One of its homes completed in 2009 earned an Emerald certification under the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Program, and that same year the affiliate committed to build its future projects at least to Silver standards under LEED for Homes or Silver under NAHB Green. That includes homes built for Seal Pointe, the affiliate’s new 42-unit neighborhood.Bay-Waveland Habitat says a big part of its prescription for green is its materials selection: aluminum roofing, cement board siding, open-cell spray foam insulation, low-e double-glazed windows, SEER 15 HVAC units, and low-VOC paints and adhesives. Construction methods include advanced framing, low-impact site development, natural resource conservation, and recycling of construction waste.last_img read more


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The Case for West-Facing Solar Panels

first_imgPanels face south for a reasonIn California, only 9 percent of solar panels face within 10 degrees of due west, the blog says. A western orientation reduces their total output by between 10 percent and 20 percent when compared with south-facing panels, and that means less electricity for homeowners and lower earnings from net-metering.Peak output for west-facing arrays is 2:00 p.m., the blog notes, two hours later than for south-facing panels.And that helps explain why some utilities are offering financial incentives to homeowners to make the switch. The study says some plans pay customers as much as 35 cents per kWh for power produced late in the afternoon vs. 12 cents per kWh for power exported to the grid at noon.“Offering a handsome incentive for well-timed solar power (or well-timed reductions in usage) can be a smart play for any utility seeking to avoid a painful alternative: paying notoriously high marginal costs to source electricity from ‘peaker’ power plants (e.g. 3 to 5x the normal price level),” the report says.“An appropriate time-of-use rate framework could enable west-facing systems to achieve compelling monetary returns despite their reduced annual energy output,” it continues. “Our recent analysis of time-varying rates — specifically those that encourage nighttime electric car charging — suggests they can have a strong effect in shaping consumer behavior.”The California Energy Commission recently decided to award subsidies of up to $500 for the installation of west-facing panels. Most rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels face south because the owners of the panels want to generate the most electricity possible. But a recent report says that shifting more PV panels to the west would produce electricity at a time when the electricity is much more useful to utilities, reducing the need for utilities to buy costly power to meet peak loads.Writing in an Outlier blog for Opower, a company that analyzes energy data for utilities, Barry Fischer and Ben Harack note that most PV-equipped homes are producing much more power than they consume during the middle part of the day. The grid, however, really needs the power boost in the late afternoon.Fischer and Harack said they looked at Opower data from 25,000 solar homes in the western U.S. along with public data about 110,000 residential projects installed in California since 2007.“Our statistical results reveal a key disconnect between today’s solar panel landscape and the broader power system,” they write.More west-facing panels would generate more power in the late afternoon and give utilities a “compelling alternative” to bringing additional power plants online.That’s the same conclusion reached in a report from the Pecan Street Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin last December. That report, however, was based on a much smaller sample — just 52 homes. Lots of midday outputDuring the sunniest parts of the day, an average of 93 percent of the solar-equipped homes export electricity to the grid because the panels generate more electricity than the homes use. On one day in particular, a hot day in May of this year, the authors charted power exports in 25,000 western homes from about 8:00 in the morning until just before 4:00 in the afternoon.After that, the solar homes actually used more than non-solar homes (see the graph in Image #2, below). The authors explain the situation this way: “Wondering why solar homes’ use of grid electricity shoots way above average after the sun goes down? It’s likely related to the elevated energy needs of their owners’ lifestyles: the typical solar home in our dataset is 34% larger than the typical non-solar home, 2.6 times as likely to own a pool, and 2.7 times as likely to enroll in an electric vehicle rate plan.”At midday, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., the average solar home produces enough power to run itself and two non-solar homes at the same time.But peak demand on the grid occurs about 5:00 p.m., when the output of south-facing panels has fallen sharply. By 4:00 p.m., only 27 percent of solar homes are exporting power to the grid; by 5:00 p.m., that’s fallen to 6 percent.“Could solar homes be more helpful in satisfying peak electric demand on the grid?” the authors write. “The answer is certainly yes. And a small subset of homes appears to be leading the way.”last_img read more