2.1% growth rate…commends PSC for presenting economic recommendationsWith Guyana’s growth rate regressing, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has stepped up to the plate by compiling a report detailing several recommendations to put the country on a path to greater economic growth.PSC Vice Chairman Desmond Sears hands over the report to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. Also in photo is PSC Executive Director Elizabeth AlleyneThat PSC “Action plan for the sustainable development of Guyana” report was formally presented on Monday by representatives from several PSC member organisations to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who saluted the gesture. According to the former President, Guyana is presently adrift when it comes to economic strategies from the Government. This renders the PSC’s input timely.“I believe that we’re adrift now policy-wise, as a country. Predictability and clarity (of policy) are very important for the future and for investments. So, any role we can play in helping to create that environment, (we will play).”He noted that he was happy that the Private Sector has taken “this bold step of trying to put things on paper, so then you’d have a specific response from Government about those measures”.“Personally, I’m not hopeful that that would happen in the Government, due to the deficit of understanding of what makes an economy tick…,” he continued.Jagdeo reminded that the PSC has played critical roles in the past to help previous Governments strategically plan their economic policies. He pointed to its role as job creators in an economy where recent reports indicate there was a large number of the unemployed.“I think it’s great that the Private Sector bodies of Guyana, they’re taking a leadership role in helping to define a future Guyana. We do have challenges now, and I think we have to work to overcome these challenges.“Nevertheless, I remain optimistic. The Private Sector is a critical stakeholder in wealth creation and by extension jobs and well-being. They must be listened to and be part of a process of contribution to the creation of that vision,” Jagdeo stated, adding that he and his team would take time to study the report before making comments on its contents.UnemploymentAn Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded quarterly Labour Force Survey done during the period July to September 2017 had revealed that the unemployment rate for persons aged 15 and above was 12 per cent. In addition, the situation for women was found to be substantially worse than that for men.The survey was done from a total population of 550,831 persons aged 15 years and above, with some 72.2 per cent living in urban areas. Given these figures, only 271,068 persons comprised the total employed population during the time of the quarterly survey – 166,873 males and 104,195 females. Urban workers totalled 188,774, while their rural counterparts numbered 82,294.The labour force participation rate for all persons aged 15 and above is 56 per cent, roughly equal to the corresponding 2012 value of 55.7 per cent. All other data gathered were compared to information contained in the 2012 census.According to the findings of the survey, unemployment among women was 15.3 per cent and among men 9.9 per cent. The youth unemployment rate among 15 to 24-year-olds was almost twice that of adults, with 21.6 per cent. Young women continued to face severe hardship, with 28 per cent of them being unemployed.Meanwhile, the employment rate for persons aged 15 and above was 49.2 per cent, with 62.1 per cent being males and 36.9 per cent being females. It was noted that the percentage of employed people in time-related underemployment was 4.2 per cent, with 72.2 per cent of the underemployed based in urban areas. The survey also found that 28.4 per cent of the labour force is underutilised, while between 48.3 per cent and 52.6 per cent of the persons employed hold informal jobs.“The percentage of male workers holding informal jobs is higher than that of female workers (57.6 per cent for males as against 44.6 per cent for females),” the survey detailed.Further, it was found during the surveyed quarter that the average salary per month for employed workers is $82,636 while the figure decreases to $67,064 for self-employed workers.Guyana’s unemployment rate is coupled with 2017’s growth rate of just 2.1 per cent. Previously, Government had said the economy was expected to grow by 2.9 per cent, failing to meet the revised growth projection of 3.1 per cent for 2017.The initial projected growth of the economy was 3.8 per cent. This was, however, revised by midyear to 3.1 per cent after the economy only grew by 2.2 per cent by July.
Heating a Tight, Well-Insulated HouseRadiant-Floor HeatingDouble-Stud Walls Suggestions on construction and windowsDouble-wall construction reduces thermal bridging dramatically by creating a thermal break in the framing. Different builders approach construction details somewhat differently, and insulation can be one of several types.Dan Kolbert would favor dense-packed cellulose over damp-spray cellulose. Chandler would use Johns Manville Spider insulation, a formaldehyde-free blown-in fiberglass product.“Choosing a contractor with experience installing blown-in insulation in a double-stud wall is more important than whether the insulation is cellulose or blown-in fiberglass,” Holladay writes. “There are several ways that such installations can go wrong — so get a good contractor.”As for windows, Holladay writes, “I wouldn’t build a house in Massachusetts without triple-glazed windows. I’d make the house smaller if I had to, and I’d order the windows I wanted.” GREEN PRODUCT GUIDE Noah Kaput and his wife seem to be off to a good start in planning their 2,100-sq. ft. house in Massachusetts. Key elements of the design include:A 5-in. thick slab-on-grade, insulated with 4 in. of rigid foam insulation.Windows in the south-facing wall with an area equal to 13% of the first-floor area.10½-inch-thick double-stud walls, insulated with cellulose.A tankless on-demand heater for domestic hot water.Radiant-floor hydronic heat distribution on both the first and second floors, with hot water supplied by a propane-fired water heater.Kaput has still not decided on which windows to use; he would love to have triple-glazed units but is leery of the high cost.“I don’t really know what I’m doing,” Kaput writes in Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, “so any and all advice would be appreciated before we start and royally screw this up!”It’s an open invitation to critique a house-in-the-making, and the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. Or, reduce the size of the systemGBA advisor Michael Chandler would reduce the size of Kaput’s planned in-floor heating system, but he wouldn’t necessarily eliminate it altogether.Instead of installing it upstairs and down, Chandler would limit it to between 30% and 50% of the floor area; the better the thermal envelope, the smaller the system could be. “I like doing radiant in the entry, kitchen, bathrooms, and in front of the fireplace in the living area,” Chandler writes. “It creates a ‘virtual wood stove’ where you have warm areas that send heat out to cooler areas through natural air circulation.“If you want more slab area for thermal mass, consider having warmer areas and cooler areas where you have some radiant manifolds circulating warm water and some circulating the return water on the way back to the heat exchanger,” he adds. “Too much radiant floor area means that if the floor feels warm, your house is overheating.” First, skip the radiant floor heating systemRadiant-floor heat has some advantages, but with the labor to install the tubing, plus cost of the tubing, pumps, controllers, and manifolds, it’s costlier than other distribution systems. RELATED ARTICLES Propane is an expensive fuelBoth Holladay and Chandler note that propane is an expensive fuel. It costs more than fuel oil, for example, which is widely available in New England.Kaput liked the idea of propane because he thought it burned cleaner than other types of fuel, and because it could be stored outside, freeing up more room inside the house. Plus, he says, he’s assuming he won’t need to burn much of it because the house will be well insulated.If Kaput wants to burn propane, Chandler suggests that he consider a A.O. Smith Vertex water heater. “If you separate the floor from the water in the tank with a flat-plate heat exchanger, you can use a single water heater to do the floor as well as the domestic hot water,” he says. Blown InsulationGBA senior editor Martin Holladay would choose another option. “It’s a very expensive way to heat a house,” he tells Kaput. “If you improve your thermal envelope, you can install a much cheaper heating system.”Without in-floor hydronic heat, Kaput replies, the slab will have to be eliminated so “we’re not walking around on a cold stone [floor] all winter.” And if the slab goes, it will have to be replaced with a crawl space and first floor deck, and the house will have to be raised because of a high water table. There would be more fill, more foundation, and higher costs. “Everything ties together,” he says.It’s that hope for warm floors all winter that makes radiant-floor heat attractive. But as Holladay points out, it’s probably little more than wishful thinking. “If your house is well designed, your in-floor heat won’t come on for very many hours each day anyway, so don’t expect the ‘warm-toes’ phenomenon,” Holladay writes. “The slab will just be at room temperature for most of the time anyway — unless you’ve made some serious errors with your envelope.“With radiant heat, here’s the rule: The warmer the floor, the worse the house.”A furnace coupled with forced-air distribution is cheaper, he adds, so there’s no reason for Kaput to consider any kind of a hydronic system. Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:I have to agree with Martin on this one. Not only is radiant-floor heating really expensive, it can be a really poor match with passive solar design, which it sounds like Noah is trying to achieve with his south glass and thickened slab-on-grade foundation.It is not uncommon in homes such as this to get up early in the morning and crank up the heat because it is cold before the sun comes up, and then be forced to open windows as the high mass floor system really begins to “glow” at the same time the sun pours in.Take that money, Noah, which you were going to spend on the radiant-floor system, and plow it into either better windows or a continuous air barrier — or both.You are right, Noah, that the specific heat capacity of materials like concrete can make them feel cold to the touch, even when their temperature is the same as all of the other objects in the room. You just aren’t walking on them! The same thing happens in my family; in the winter, my girls complain that the granite kitchen countertop (local Vermont granite, by the way) is “cold.” They try to believe me when I tell them the countertop is the same temperature as the walls and the floor, but…If you like to walk around barefoot in the winter, you are likely to feel the need for that radiant floor heating. But as Martin pointed out, if you build a really efficient envelope, the radiant heat won’t operate very much, so you won’t get that ‘warm toes’ feeling very often. I would go with strategically placed throw rugs and forgo the radiant-floor heat.