Hage’s Million Dollar Estate Case Goes Back to Lower Court

first_imgThe Supreme Court of Liberia has granted the petition to overturn a ruling to exclude some properties and to audit millions of United States dollars collected from the estate of the Late Milad R. Hage, instructing the Monthly and Probate Court of Montserrado County to retry the matter.Initially, the lower court denied a motion to “Exclude Movants Properties from the Estate of the Late Milad R. Hage and to Order Audit of Mr. Bassam H. Jawhary Relating to the Estate” filed by Hage’s widow Oumou Sirleaf Hage, a Liberian and children against Jawhary, a Lebanese national.  However, reserving the lower court decision, the Supreme Court said there were several irregularities, errors, negligence and glaring misconduct committed in the interpretation of the Decedent Estate Law by the lower court.In their judgment, the High Court further declared that “Oumou Sirleaf Hage, widow of late Milad Hage, and her children’s lawyers were negligent and careless and did not adequately and effectively represent their interest.”“Accordingly,” the Highest Court added, “We believe that in order to serve the interest of transparent justice, equity demands that we remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings so that all of the parties are guaranteed full access to due process of law.”“Notwithstanding,” the High Court maintained in the judgment though “Oumou’s lawyers’ failure to comply with the requirements of the stature to have the case heard on regular appeal, was due solely to the negligent conduct of her lawyers. Such failure under the circumstances of the case should not deprive her of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Liberia.”The Supreme Court went ahead to instruct the Clerk of Court to order Judge Holder to resume jurisdiction over the matter by saying “Ordered  Jawhary to submit to the court a comprehensive inventory of the Hage Estates assets, as well as liabilities as required by the Decedent Estate Law.”Also, in the instruction, the Court mandated Mr.Jahwary to furnish a detailed statement on the status of the loan facility Hage has with the Ecobank and also audit Ecobank for the period in which proceeds of the estate were collected by the bank.Before Hage’s death, the deceased obtained a loan (loans) from Ecobank in Monrovia, and pledged properties as collateral to secure and guarantee the rental proceeds from the properties at Red Light to the bank to retire the loans.The High Court, among others, ordered Judge Holder to  “Ensure that Bassam Jawhary establishes an account in the name of the Hage Estate if  such account is not already established, into which all monies belonging to the Estate is deposited for the operation of this account shall be with the approval of the court.”It further stated, “Investigate the allegations of malpractices alleged to have been committed by Bassam Jawhary in his handling of the properties of the Hage Estate,  including the Estate funds.”According to the order, Judge Holder is to revoke Jawhary’s letter of Testamentary in the event that the investigation conducted pursuant to the above revealed that he has engaged in misconduct and mismanagement of the affairs of the Estate.“Determine whether or not the lease agreement executed by and between Oumou Sirleaf Hage and Milad R. Hage has expired in accordance with its terms and conditions, and in the event that said lease agreement is determined to have expired, return all properties covered by the lease agreement,” the order  further instructed.It also added, “Determine whether or not the properties covered by the lease agreement including properties owned by the  children of Milad Hage and Oumou Hage, and if so render void the lease agreement by and between her and Milad Hage, in so far as it covers and relates to the properties owned by said children.”The instruction went on to say, “Determine whether or not the conduct of Jawhary,  as relates to Oumou Sirleaf Hage, constitutes a disavowal of the Last  Will and Testament of Milad R. Hage, and if so, revoke his testamentary and remove him from his position as executor of the estate.”“Determine whether or not the disharmony between Jawhary and Oumou and the children necessitate an immediate closure of the Hage estate,” adding, “Given that this has been pending for a long time without final determination, the Monthly and Probate Court of  Montserrado County is  mandated to give it first priority handling.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

After one year’s delay: new hinterland students’ dormitory commissioned

first_imgIn the new academic year, tertiary hinterland students will be given a chance to take up residence at a newly commissioned dormitory at Liliendaal on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).The newly commissioned hinterland students’ dormitory will provide accommodation for persons to further their educationThe building was commissioned on Monday by caretaker President, David Granger and is pegged at just over $186 million. The new facility can accommodate up to 120 students from the hinterland region along with housekeeping staffers, administrative employees and custodians.Permanent Secretary of the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, Alfred King explained that the building was constructed by BK Construction Incorporated but there were delays ever since the initial deadline of September 2018.“We had some challenges and we had some extension from 1st September 2018 going to December of 2018 and that still didn’t materialise. We were able to close formally on the 3rd March 2019,” King said.Going forward, an e-library hub will be installed to deliver information technology services to students. During the defects liability period, structural changes will be made to some aspects of the building.Meanwhile, Junior Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs caretaker Minister, Valerie Garrido Lowe stated that many students would have had challenges in obtaining living accommodations to study on the coastland. It is the expectation that such gaps will be bridged.Meanwhile, Granger, who was at the commissioning, stated that this points to an upward growth in Guyana’s education system to create productive citizens. According to him, opportunities should be equally available for hinterland and coastal individuals.Granger stated that apart from academic opportunities, other services should be equally dispersed.“We want to create a more equal society. We want to ensure that hinterland residents can enjoy similar public services – birth, business and death registration; public education; public health; public information; public infrastructure; public telecommunication; public security and social security – as citizens on the coastland,” Granger added.There are persons from over 200 hinterland communities who are stymied by geographical location to obtain tertiary education among other challenges.For the new academic year, persons will be able to stay at the new facility until their studies are completed. This includes students currently attending the University of Guyana (UG); the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE); the Government Technical Institute (GTI); the Guyana School of Agriculture; Carnegie School of Home Economics; the ER Burrowes School of Art and the Guyana Industrial Training Centre (GITC).last_img read more

Teen chopped to death at wedding house brawl

first_imgAn argument over a girl resulted in the chopping to death of a boy at Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, last Sunday evening.Dead is Devanand Sanichar, 13, of Lot 83-84 Plantain Walk West Half, Beterverwagting, ECD.Based on initial investigations, Sanichar, who would have celebrated his 14th birthday in a month’s time, was at a wedding house in the area when he got into a fight with a group of men over a young lady. He subsequently left and returned with a cutlass.The argument escalated and one of the men relieved him of the cutlass and dealh him a chop to his head. Sanichar reportedly fell and was severely beaten with pieces of wood by the group.Dead: Devanand SanicharWhen Guyana Times visited the home of the dead boy Monday, his inconsolable mother Sukhdhai Sanichar was being comforted by relatives. She managed to tell this newspaper that the prime suspect was a friend of her deceased son.“He come and call for meh son on Sunday…he did drunk …so I tell he that meh son wasn’t at home. We went at the wedding house and the same boy come to meh son and tell he to reach he outside,” the woman stated.However, her son left the wedding house and after a short time, she recalled her brother-in-law waving to her from the gate and she thought something was amidst.As she reached the gate, she was told that her son was lying on the roadway in a pool of blood.In tears, she related that she ran to the area and saw her son lying and attempted to hold him but was told that he was dead and she could not touch the body. “He had a chop on he head and like a nail mark to he neck… blood went all ova,” she recalled.However, the family later received information that another friend of the dead boy was among the group that beat and killed him. That friend has since been taken into custody and has led the Police to the others who were involved in the incident.At present, four teenagers are in custody, but the alleged prime suspect referred to as “James”, is still on the run. The aggrieved mother is calling for justice for her eldest son, who assisted the family financially.Sanichar dropped out of school six months ago and sometimes worked with his father. She described her son as a quiet person and was not sure what transpired on the fateful night.One woman told Guyana Times that she was at home when she heard the screams and as she looked out, she saw the young man’s body on the roadway.At the scene, there were several pieces of wood, which might have been used to beat the teenager.The Police have confirmed that persons are in custody assisting with investigations.The dead boy leaves to mourn his parents and three siblings. (Bhisham Mohamed)last_img read more

Donation helps patients breathe easy

first_imgSo far, the foundation has donated more than $30,000 to the hospital. Photo: ICU Nurse Neil Evans (right) tests out the new piece of equipment on ‘acting patient’ Ashley Bentley from the Hospital Foundation (left) – submitted.The Fort St. John Hospital has received a large donation to help purchase a vital piece of health care equipment.The TB Vets Charitable Foundation recently donated $5000 for the purchase of a Respironics BiPap Machine.- Advertisement -BiPap is a form of assisted ventilation that helps patients with chronic lung disease or other illnesses.The device moves air in and out of patient’s lungs without the muscular effort normally associated with breathing.The equipment is especially important in the ER and ICU departments of the Fort St. John Hospital.In 2006 TB Vets Charitable Foundation provided funding for an oximeter and accessories and in 2007 they provided funds for a portable ventilator.Advertisementlast_img read more

Plan eases up on some parolees

first_imgCRIME: Proposal aims to free up agents to focus on ex-convicts who pose a higher risk. By Don Thompson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SACRAMENTO – Thousands of nonviolent ex-convicts could soon be freed from supervision after six months of parole instead of the usual three years under a policy aimed at ferreting out those least likely to commit new crimes, prison officials said Friday. Currently, nearly 70 percent of ex-cons in California commit violations during their three-year parole. Last year, about 68,000 parolees were sent back to crowded prisons for violations. Ex-convicts who are no longer under supervision can’t be sent back to prison for parole violations. Corrections Secretary James Tilton said the goal of the new policy is to select ex-cons who are unlikely to re-offend anyway, and to encourage them to complete programs that make it even less likely they will commit new crimes. Weeding out the low-risk offenders would let parole agents concentrate on dangerous ex-convicts such as sex offenders and gang members, Tilton said. Criminologists have for years recommended easing California’s parole policy. In 2004, a Schwarz- enegger-appointed advisory committee chaired by former Gov. George Deukmejian recommended releasing “very low risk” parolees after three months. The policy would allow what the department is calling “earned release” after six months. Officials projected that less than half of parolees would be eligible. Sex offenders, gang members or those with a history of violent or serious offenses going back to their juvenile record would be ineligible.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is to announce the new policy Monday, a day before the state Board of Prison Terms considers the new regulations at its meeting in Sacramento. The politically risky policy would first be tested in mid-November, in a single parole district in conservative Orange County. If it works as expected, the policy could be adopted statewide by mid-2008, officials said. A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger argued that selectively freeing low-risk ex-convicts from parole is better than risking the release of more dangerous inmates. A special federal three- judge panel is considering whether to cap the state’s prison population, potentially forcing inmates to be released before completing their full sentences. “If we don’t make significant reforms, the public safety dangers are grave,” said Adam Mendelsohn, Schwarzenegger’s communications director. last_img read more

Transfer news: Marseille make move for Spurs flop

first_img1 Emmanuel Adebayor could be on his way to Marseille, according to reports in France.The Togolese reached agreement with Spurs to terminate his contract last weekend after he was frozen out of the first-team picture by Mauricio Pochettino.And now, according to Le 10 Sport, Marseille officials have made contact with the former Arsenal striker about joining them.Adebayor is believed to keen on remaining in the Premier League and is still his exploring options, with Aston Villa being strongly linked, but the French club hope to tempt him across the Channel. Emmanuel Adebayor last_img read more


first_img*U21B Championship*CLG BnaG v GlenfinConoy, Saturday @ 2.30pm After last Saturdays great win over Killybegs the boys now Glenfin this weekend. Throw in time in Convoy is at 2.30pm*U21B Championship*CLG BnaG 2-8 Killybegs 1-8Our U21s advance to the semi final after a thrilling finale againt Killybegs in Killygordon on Saturday. They came up against a good and very organised Killybegs side and matched them for the majority in the first half, yet struggled to get points on the board. They played against bit of a breeze but that wasn’t a major factor in restricting them to not a single score in the first half. The half time scoreline of 1-4 to 0-0 flattered Killybegs somewhat. Killybegs defended well and got numbers back early, and at times Na Galloglaigh were a bit too slow in getting the ball into scoring areas, but at the same time they themselves defended well and restricted Killybegs at the other end, and limited most of their scores to frees. It was almost 15 minutes before the first score was registered, and late on into the half a high ball into the box caused havoc and bobbled about a bit before being finished into the corner of Sean Gallaghers net with 5 minutes of the half remaining. Around the same time the lads suffered a blow when Cathal Mc Gettigan went over his ankle and had to be withdrawn at half time. With the scoreboard 1-4 to 0-0 at half time it looked like an Everest to climb in the second half, but the lads were never out of this game and were as good as their counterparts all over the pitch in the first half, but just didn’t get their scores.Na Galloglaigh however blitzed Killybegs in the opening 5 minutes of the second half, with Kane Barrett getting a goal in the first 30 seconds to bring the lads right back into the game, and 2 more points from Kane and one from his brother Luc O Bairead left just a point between the sides after 35 minutes. Killybegs found their bearings again however and the next 20 minutes were a tit for tat encounter with Killybegs always keeping the lads at arms length. Hugh McFadden for Killybegs, a constant thorn in the side, put Killybegs 3 clear with less than five minute to go, and with Killybegs looking the fitter it looked like game over. However the lads battled superbly, and two more points from Kane Barrett put just a point between the sides as it came up to 60 minutes. Then, 30 seconds into injury time, after a great team move, Gary Merritt went on a great run down the end line, and his pass picked out Tony Mcnamee who fired into the back of the net from around the penalty spot. It was a total smash and grab job as prior to this the lads looked dead and buried. Tony’s goal put the boys 2 points ahead and from the resultant kick out Dylan Hegarty added another point before referee Tony O’Donnell blew the final whistle and send the lads through to the semi final. Rumour has it the lads will now play Glenfin next Saturday, at a time and venue yet to be decided. Well done to all the lads, great performance and they never gave up. Team: Sean Gallagher, Gavin Grier, Sean Black, Kieran Sheridan, James Doyle, Gary Merritt, Jamie Heena, Jonny Logue, Luke Barrett (0-1), Odhrán Coll, Cathal McGettigan, Caolan Bolton (0-1), Dylan Hegarty (0-1), Kane Barrett (1-4), Tony McNamee (1-1). Subs: Gavin McFadden for McGettigan (HT) *Christmas Dance*Milford Inn, Monday 29th DecemberOur annual presentation dance will take place in the Milford Inn on Monday 29th December with special guests Michael Muprhy and Neil Gallagher. After some short presentations Paul McCahill will kick things off with DJ Mo Kelly taking the reins afterwards. Tickets cost €10 and more information will be available closer to the time. Always a great night! Not to be missed.*Health and Mental Well Being Awareness Fair*Our Childrens Officer Marion McNulty, who is also on the Donegal GAA Health & Wellness Committee, will be conducting a focus session on stress & anxiety at the Donegal Mental Health Services ‘Minding Yourself, Minding Your Mind’ taking place in the Mill Park Hotel this Wednesday. There is a whole host of workshops taking place on the night as well as guest speaker Michael Murphy. This will be quite similar to our own ‘healthy Club Day’ which will be returning in the new year. Anyone interested in attending the event all are welcome and admission is free, Doors open at 6.30pm and refreshments served on reception. *4 Selected for Donegal U14 Ladies*Well done to Maria Afxentiou, Megan Ryan, Bronagh Durning & Claudia Ward who have been selected for county U14 panel for next year, great to have four players from our club representing our county at this level.*GAA National Draw*Tickets are now available for the GAA National Draw. Tickets can be purchased through the Club app or from any Committee member. Instructions on how to get the Club app are on our website. Tickets cost €10 and the 15 great prizes are also listed on our website. Draw takes place on February 27th 2015. For further details see www.gaa.ie/nationalclubdraw. *Lucozade Sport Kit Out Project*Lucozade Sport are back with another promotion this year which was very beneficial to us last year. However this year they are NOT looking for the bottle caps, instead they are looking for a promotional code that is found printed on the bottle underneath the wrapper. We would like to ask all our players and supporters to hold on to any Lucozade Sports bottles they come across and leave them in the designated bottle bin at the Clubhouse. Thanks again for the help collecting last year and we look forward to collecting even more this year!*Lotto*This weeks lotto numbers were 4-11-21-23. No jackpot winner, 3 match 3 winners, win €25. John McCarron, Nigel Black, and Danny Gallagher. Next weeks Jackpot is €1,800. Don’t forget you can enter the lotto from the comfort of your own home by playing through our own FREE Club App. Usual rules apply, pick 4 numbers per box, €2 and €5 options available. Numbers must be entered before 10pm or else they roll over to the next week. Perfect way for our many supporters and exiles overseas who would like to continue to support their Club.*Training Schedules*Seniors/Reserves/U21s/Minors: Mon (8.30pm @ Crossfit LK), Tuesday & Thursday (7pm @ Pitch)Senior Ladies: (@ Pitch): Wednesday (7pm), Saturday (10am)Minors: (@ Pitch) Wednesday (4.30pm)G4M&O: (@ Pitch): Mondays (8pm)U16s: (@ Pitch): Mondays (6.30pm), Wednesdays (6.30pm)U14s: (@ Pitch): Tuesday (4.15pm), Friday (4.15pm)U12s: (@ Pitch) Thursdays (6pm)U12s (Mixed): (@ Pitch) Thursdays (6pm)Gaelic4Girls: (@ Pitch) Fridays (6pm)U10s: (@ Pitch): Fridays (7pm)U8s: (@ Pitch): Fridays (6pm)–*Underage Coaching*Anyone interested in getting involved in the coaching of underage teams are asked to contact Shaun Paul Barrett on 086-6052169*2014 Membership*Club membership will be soon due for the 2014 year. Please be aware that Donegal tickets will only be sourced for paid up members of the Club. The rates remain unchanged from 2013:Family – €50Senior – €20U18 – €10Alternatively you can subscribe to the Club Lotto Database. For €17 a month you will receive:– Full Family membership– Entered into every weekly Lotto draw– Automatically in a Christmas Hamper Draw (For subscribers only)– 11 free weeks entry into the lottoFor more information contact Joe McNulty on 086-8547114*Lotto Database*Lotto database players are reminded that end of year payments are now due. Anyone wishing to join the lotto database in 2014 can download the standing order form from the Club website or contact Joe McNulty. The benefits of joining the database are:– Full family membership for 2014 included– Entered into every draw evey week– Automatically in Christmas hamper draw (One for database members only)– 11 weeks free entry to lotto draw*Child Protection & ASAP Policies*CLG BnaG Child Protection and Welfare Policy & Procedures and CLG BnaG Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ASAP) prevention Policy information sessions have been held for all members of the club executive and all those involved with underage teams. There will be further information sessions for underage members and their parents/guardians following the next registration in 2014. Please visit the ‘downloads’ section of our website (Milford.Donegal.gaa.ie) and view the policy for yourself. If anyone has any queries or concerns or comments please contact the club Children’s Officer Marian McNulty at 086/8506405 or marian.mcnulty@lyit.ie*Volunteers Needed for Sub-Committees*CLG BnaG is currently in the process of creating Sub-Committees to help implement and achieve the targets of a 5 year plan. If you feel you can contribute to the running of the Club in any small way, either in time or in ideas, please contact MilfordDonegalGAA@gmail.com, 0863400082 or send a PM. The Sub-Committees are as follows:FinanceUnderage Games DevelopmentAdult Games DevelopmentClub AdministrationClub FacilitiesPR, Communication & Culture*Lotto Sellers Required*The Club is seeking lotto sellers in the Milford, Ramelton and Rathmullan areas. If you are interested contact Joe McNulty on 086-8547114*Evolution Fitness*All paid up club members will now be able to avail of a €10 discount on 3 month membership. Normal 3 month membership is €80 but will be available to members for €70. If interested contact Jack Duddy at Evolution Fitness beside the mart in Milford*Contact Us*For all information and queries contact MilfordDonegalGAA@Gmail.com, follow us on Twitter on @CLGBnaG, and on Facebook on www.facebook.com/clgbaile.nangalloglach or see our website www.milford.donegal.gaa.ie/*Milford GAA Club Gear*Club gear is now available to order. Anyone who has ordered club gear but yet received it are to contact either Aidan or Barry. The range of club gear includes Hoodies, Tracksuits tops, Windcheaters, hats, navy polo shirts, white polo shirts, and t-shirts. There is some lovely gear available at very reasonable prices and photos are available to view on the club Facebook page. Orders can be placed with Agnes Ryan on 086-8194751.GAA NEWS: MILFORD U21’S DEFEAT KILLYBEGS TO SET-UP SEMI-FINAL CLASH WITH GLENFIN was last modified: December 9th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAAMilfordNoticesSportlast_img read more


first_imgThis year’s Edinburgh Mary has been chosen and it is Edinburgh Airport Girl Eileen McGuinness.Flying high – Edinburgh woman Eileen McGuinness.Eileen is no stranger to Dungloe as she spent many of her early years and summers in Donegal and has loads of family in Burtonport and Dungloe.Speaking last night Eileen (24) said “It’s such an honour and I am Truly so happy to be Representing Edinburgh in This years Mary From Dungloe”. “Its been something I have wanted to do since I was a Little Girl coming to The Festival’s each Year and spending so much time here in donegal with my Family”.” I Still consider Dungloe my hometown and love coming back when I can ”“I just cant wait to meet everyone and hopefully have a great time”.Plans for the big event are building up with a number of other ‘Marys’ still to be chosen.EILEEN IS CHOSEN AS THE EDINBURGH ‘MARY’ was last modified: May 16th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalEdinburghEileen McGuinnessMary From Dungloelast_img read more

Team South Africa completes Mongol Rally

first_imgThe three adventurers with their Ukranianhostess Olga. Exploring a field of giant sunflowersin Prague.(Images: 1 000 Traveling Names blog)MEDIA CONTACTS • Shannon Davis1 000 Traveling Names and a Donkey+27 74 107 5550RELATED ARTICLES• SA trio en route to Mongolia• Celebrities on sale for charity• African adventure for local woman• SA woman conquers the Seven Summits• SA comics team up for charityMediaClubSouthAfrica.com reporterThree South African women who set off on a daring expedition six weeks ago to cross Europe in the 16 000km Mongol Rally from the UK to Mongolia to raise money for charity, have successfully completed their journey.The goal was an ambitious one: to travel through up to 14 countries (depending on the route) and cross four mountain ranges and three deserts without any support vehicles.The local team, consisting of Joanne Theron, Shannon Davis and Gene Arundel, started their adventure on 23 July 2011 in London. Their goal was to raise money for two charities: the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation and the Pink Drive Campaign.The South African team went all out to represent South Africa on their journey. They distributed scarves and flags supplied by Brand SA and they even branded their vehicle “SA”.Everything about the team was unusual, from their name to their chosen mode of transport. The team was officially known as 1 000 Travelling Names and a Donkey (a reference to their mascot), and was sponsored by Brand South Africa, among others.To add more excitement to the trip, the local team decided to undertake their journey using an ambulance as their mode of transport. They decided to donate the vehicle to the people of Mongolia as a contribution towards the creation of a national ambulance service in the country.Mongolia’s poor economic status and lack of funds for public services has left the country short of emergency vehicles. A large number of Mongolian citizens live a traditional, nomadic lifestyle, which means they have to travel long distances to get to a hospital.An improved ambulance service would help to save many lives and improve the quality of life of the residents of the country.Happy memoriesAlong the way, the trio met many interesting people, experienced many random acts of kindness and made happy memories: a Russian lady they met in a bar who took it upon herself to ensure they had the correct maps so that they didn’t get lost on route to their next destination; a run-in with Ukrainian police; playing in a field of sunflowers in Prague; and attending a Kazakh wedding in Kazakhstan.They were first class ambassadors for their country while on their travels, spreading South African generosity, warmth and cheer to whomever they met along the way.“We were extremely proud to fly our flag high for South Africa and to be ambassadors for our country. Thanks again for all your support,” says Team South Africa.last_img read more

The Pretty Good House: A Better Building Standard?

first_imgHalfway to Passivhaus?So is PGH just the average of minimum code requirements and today’s most stringent metrics — a new standard that is halfway between the extremes?Richard Renner said no: “This is the 75th or 80th percentile, not the 50th percentile.” He explained that even though they can afford it, many people are just not going to build to the Passivhaus standard. (As an example, he noted that he designed one Passivhaus that was “so passive, it never got built” — a comment that garnered laughs, applause and more than a few sympathetic nods.)Margo Billings, an energy rater on the panel, elaborates: “Passivhaus is very intimidating to someone who doesn’t know what it is. … The best thing about PGH is that it’s a powerful educational tool.”Paul Eldrenkamp, an audience member and builder (and chair of Building Energy 13, NESEA’s annual conference in Boston), agreed. When he first heard the term PGH, he said, “I thought it was brilliant. Even not knowing what it was. … It’s about changing what the people in the field do — an effort to show people in the field what they should think of as good construction techniques. … Most people in the field want to do good work, they want to be good at their job; if you show them, ‘This is a good wall detail, anything less than this is a bad wall detail,’ their natural pride and craftsmanship will take over.”Chris Corson, a Passivhaus designer/builder and meeting attendee, said, “It’s important to bridge the gap, but ultimately we have to ask ourselves, why are we trying to save energy? Is it to save money? To build healthy structures? Is it because we want to indulge in architectural conceit? Or is it because we’re trying to combat anthropomorphic climate change? If that’s one of the drivers, then we have to reduce the energy consumption of the built environment by a substantial amount and we have to do it now. … Passivhaus is a non-prescriptive, metrics-based vehicle to do that.”Jesse countered, “As someone who does that [Passivhaus’ PHPP energy modeling], it’s an analytical tool — you have to analyze every building. That’s why [Building Science Corporation’s] 10-20-40-60 house was pretty damn brilliant: they defined a standard, so there was a place holder.”Someone (my voice recorder and memory failed to recall who) said, “There’s moving the top, and raising the bottom. But how does [a PGH] perform? Most people want to live in a good building, but how do they know what constitutes a good house? [PGH] is a means of communication, communicating to builders and clients what they really want, deep down, which is a house that performs well for them.” (Quick back-story: several months ago, Dan Kolbert proposed a topic for the monthly discussion group at Maine Green Building Supply: “The Pretty Good House.” He insists that he doesn’t really know what it is, other than a title that seems to appeal to a lot of people (and that it annoys “humorless idiots.”) A vague concept?In his introduction at the NESEA meeting, Dan started out by stating that maybe the sole virtue of the PGH is that it’s a vague concept. The truth is that there seems to be a fair amount of agreement that it’s a house that is built better than code but that does not necessarily meet the requirements of Passivhaus, net zero, LEED, or other particularly stringent building standard.Of course, any house that does meet those standards could easily be considered “pretty (darn) good.”Richard Renner, one of three architects on the panel, said that “the highest level [of design and building] is only attainable to the few. … PGH should be a body of knowledge of what is darn good (if not perfect) — useful in developing new designs, and also good for getting clients to understand what we’re trying to do.”Chris Briley, Panel Architect #2, called the PGH “the standard that’s not a standard. … How do you affect the status quo? The ‘pretty’ in PGH is pretty high. … Maybe [PGH] is really about tricking people into building a better house.”Jesse Thompson, Panel Architect #3, noted, “PGH is aggressively nebulous. … It’s about the fifty percenters, the people only comfortable halfway between the extremes. … Right now, one extreme is Passivhaus, but before Passivhaus got fame, we called it the Building Science Corporation’s 10-20-40-60 house — that was the too-hard thing to build.” Thompson was referring to a guideline published by the Building Science Corporation that calls for cold-climate homes to have R-10 sub-slab foam, R-20 basement walls, R-40 above-grade walls, and R-60 ceilings.Thompson continued, “Then way over here is [the building] code. The brilliance of the term PGH is that the name appeals to this enormous group of people.”However, the problem with PGH, in Jesse’s opinion, is that by telling people PGH is good enough, it makes it harder for him and other people on the forefront to pull building standards forward. In his words, “Now we need ‘Extra-Passivhaus.’” The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) held its annual meeting in Portland, Maine, on September 15th, 2012. After a day of tours of local sustainably designed projects and some pre-meeting smorgasbord grazing, the meeting started with a round of speeches by board and association directors. (Exciting changes are coming; stay tuned!). Then the meeting continued with the entertainment portion of the evening: a panel-style discussion about the Pretty Good House.The discussion was moderated by Dan Kolbert, a Portland-area builder, and it didn’t take long for the audience to get involved — making the whole thing seem like a better-dressed version of our building science discussion groups.Like all of our discussions about the Pretty Good House (PGH), the topics and questions ranged all over the place. I had planned to write a single blog post summarizing what we talked about, but there were so many interesting aspects discussed that I think it will make more sense to write a series of posts. One recurring question seems to be, “What the heck is a ‘pretty good house’?” so let’s start with that. RELATED ARTICLES The Pretty Good HouseThe Pretty Good House, Part 2Martin’s Pretty Good House ManifestoRegional Variations on the ‘Pretty Good House’Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing?Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing? Part 2Visiting Energy-Smart Designers and Builders in MaineSteve’s Garage Annual NESEA Meeting and the Pretty Good HouseGreen Building for Beginners A better building standard?Here’s my take: Right now, Passivhaus, “net-zero-ready,” LEED, and other programs define the upper edge of building standards. In other industries, the Upper End appeals to those who want the best — who want to be the best. In other words, the Rolex and Mercedes people, to repurpose an analogy proposed by Jesse Thompson.The Upper End is a stretch, but not impossibly out of reach, for most people. But to get there takes more sacrifice than people are willing to put in. Paul Eldrenkamp noted, “We used to discuss ‘diminishing returns’ a lot more.” To mix in another metaphor, not everyone has the compulsion or the wherewithal to get straight A’s.However, it seems to me that nearly everybody wants, at least, to be better than average. The PGH should seek to define “better than average,” and with that definition, move the average forward. We need the adventurers on the forefront, moving the bar ever upward, and we need Code Minimum to define the worst allowable building standard. Right now the vast majority of houses fall far closer to Code Minimum than they do to any other standard.By defining a practical, achievable level of quality and energy use standards, adjusted for different climates and existing buildings, we can reach a huge number of people who currently only have two extremes to use in judging quality. By educating tradespeople, homeowners, and designers on what a “pretty good house” looks like and how it should perform, we can affect the built environment in a meaningful way, while making ever higher building standards more accessible.What do you think? Is a PGH simply defined as the midpoint between code-minimum (or worse) homes on one end, and Passivhaus (or better) buildings on the other end? Or should the PGH be a more proactive standard, aiming for, say, 75% of the way to the top, in an effort to reach more people and improve more buildings?last_img read more