Green Building Programs: Time for a Do-Over?

first_imgI’ve been involved with green building certification programs for about 10 years now, starting with my work with Southface and the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association in developing the EarthCraft Renovation program. Since then, I have become a HERS rater, an NAHB verifier, a LEED Green Rater, a BPI Building Analyst, an EarthCraft Technical Advisor, a Green Communities Technical Advisor, and a Building America Builders Challenge verifier (I don’t think I left anything out). In these various capacities, I have certified many single- and multifamily units under most of these programs and, until recently, felt pretty comfortable managing them and explaining the various—and sometimes conflicting—requirements of each to my clients. While I was aware that there were some changes on the horizon, it seems that the upcoming changes in ENERGY STAR and the ripple effect through other programs have taken myself and most others in the industry somewhat off our games.What’s the schedule?ENERGY STAR versions 2.5 and 3 have been in the pipeline for a while, and although I have been keeping up with them in theory, I have not yet taken the time to sit down and go through them in detail, nor have I yet taken the two-day required class for raters. The raters I have spoken to who have taken this class seem to be a frustrated bunch, many having only recently entered the industry looking for a new source of income. The general impression is that the new versions will likely lower the number of builders seeking certification—not good news for the rating industry and the thousands of newly trained professionals looking for business opportunities.I believe it is important to raise the level of performance of our buildings, but the complexity of the new ENERGY STAR, as well as many other certification programs, deserves some reconsideration. LEED for Homes, scheduled for a new version release in late 2012, has not yet shared publicly how the program will relate to ENERGY STAR Version 3, nor has the NAHB Research Center said anything publicly on the subject that I am aware of. EarthCraft House is scheduled to release a new version in March 2011 that will, hopefully, clarify some of the confusion. Right now it is a challenge to know how much work will be involved in certifying future projects, making it hard to provide pricing to potential clients. It’s enough to drive a rater crazy.I don’t need any stinking consensusIt seems to always be a big deal that many of these green programs were developed by “consensus,” supposedly leading to the best outcome, but I fear that I must disagree with this opinion. We need to only take a look at our dysfunctional legislative bodies to see just how effective (or ineffective) we can be when trying to come to a consensus. When we look at things realistically, there are lots of constituencies involved in green programs, each one having its own goals to work toward, everyone compromising, until we end up with something that ultimately pleases very few people and leaves everyone else feeling slightly abused. I do not come to this opinion from experience; rather, mostly as an outside observer of the various committees assembled to create these standards. I am willing to listen to anyone’s opinion to the contrary. While I don’t know that there is necessarily any better way to create a program, I don’t believe that the consensus model (or muddle) brings us the best product. Rather, it brings us one that offends the smallest number of people.Eschew obfuscationOne of my favorite pieces of graffiti—“eschew obfuscation,” which I translate to “avoid overcomplication”—is something I would like to see all the various and sundry green certification programs take as their mission statements. Unfortunately, “overcomplicated” seems to be the key to most programs. If it’s not a long checklist like the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) or EarthCraft House, it’s a dense, interpretation-heavy spreadsheet like LEED for Homes. Even ENERGY STAR, which in Version 2 was pretty straightforward, seems to have become obfuscated, at least for the time being, in Version 3.I’m not sure if there is a better model out there, but I believe, deep down, that there must be a better way. I have always had a theory that compared to a democracy, a benevolent dictatorship (if the dictator was truly benevolent) might be a better system to live under. I get so disgusted by politicians; I think that anyone who aspires to public office should be denied the opportunity. Some as yet unnamed higher power should just appoint people based on merit, with no opportunity for them to decline. I realize that I am being totally delusional, but it’s my blog and I can write what I want, and you’re reading it anyway.So why can’t we just pick the smartest people, sit them down, and tell them to put together the most effective, simplest, and least expensive green building program? If we pick (or someone from above chooses) the right people, we might end up with something that doesn’t continue to drive us crazy. I’m just sayin’.last_img read more

Tips for Rewriting Your Screenplay Without Starting Completely Over

first_imgThinking about burning that old screenplay? Consider the following steps for fixing your screenplay without scrapping it completely.Writing a screenplay is hard work. Not only is it time-consuming and labor-intensive, it’s also emotionally draining — pouring your heart and soul into a project will really take it out of you. And, the sad fact remains that the vast majority of screenplays never see the light of day. So to be successful, you’ll probably need to write many scripts in your lifetime.However, while it might be a daunting task, that doesn’t mean you should abandon all hope when you hit your first roadblock. Good screenwriting is actually just good revising. Here are some tips to revise and rewrite your screenplay — without starting over entirely.Recognize Your Strongest MomentsYour first step is to find your light. Evaluate your script to find your strongest, best, and brightest moments. If you can identify the best parts, you can pull those out and find ways to give them more life, elevating the rest of your script to their level.This also helps you recognize which moments aren’t as strong and may need to be tweaked — or changed completely. Find your light, then work to direct your energy on making it better. The rest of your script will follow.Tweak Your Lead Character(s)Image via Dallasetta.Many screenwriters start with their main character well before they put pen to paper (or keystrokes to computer). This is helpful in the ideation phase, but once you’re knee-deep in a project, you’ll need to train yourself to let some idealized versions of your characters go, thus letting the narrative take over.Just because you originally wrote your lead characters one way doesn’t mean they can’t change. Ask yourself If my lead changed, how would that affect the story? And what doors might that open up?Introduce a New Element EarlyA fun writing exercise for any script is to try throwing in new elements — early and often. Whether they’re ideas you’ve been tinkering with or just something you grab out of thin air, try throwing in some new wrenches to your narrative — early — to see what might fit.Does your lead character have a new flaw? Is there another relationship between characters that wasn’t there before? Is there another surprise conflict to overcome at the beginning? Try some things out; see what your characters can handle.Find Ways to Raise the StakesImage via Mark Poprocki.A good three-act screenplay should constantly be finding ways to raise the stakes throughout the structure. Yes, we all know to raise the stakes in the final moments of the third act, but strong motive and audience interest hinges on raising the stakes at every crossroad.If your screenplay seems to drag early on, it might just be that the motivation isn’t there — that there’s no push for resolution. Ask yourself How high the stakes are on the first page? And how much higher can they can go on every page after that?The Power of Voice and ToneFrom the outside, at least compared to other forms of writing and literature, the screenplay appears to be less artistic. It’s more straightforward in its direction and style. Your character does this, says that, looks this way, etc. However, for your project to really find life, you need to find the right voice and tone to tell your story.Yes, a script is a guideline for the actual production, but it also contains the lifeblood of the narrative. If it feels bland and lifeless, it very well could feel that way during (and after) production. Find your tone, your power, and your voice. If you can make your screenplay fun to write and read, you’ll be able to push through any rewrites (or revisions) to create the best script possible.Cover image by VGstockstudio.Looking for more on screenwriting? Check out these articles.5 Important Tools Every Screenwriter Should HaveHow to Overcome the 5 Biggest Obstacles to Writing Your ScreenplayAustin Film Festival Interview: Insights for Turning Your Script into a 90-Second PitchHow to Break a Script Down Into a Shot List6 Free Scriptwriting Resources for Your Next Screenplaylast_img read more

25 years after murders, OJ says ‘Life is fine’

first_img‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP “We don’t need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives,” Simpson said. “The subject of the moment is the subject I will never revisit again. My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone.’ We focus on the positives.”For a man who once lived for the spotlight , Simpson has been keeping a largely low profile since his release from prison in October 2017 after serving nine years for a robbery-kidnapping conviction in Las Vegas. He continues to believe his conviction and sentence for trying to steal back his own memorabilia were unfair but says, “I believe in the legal system and I honored it. I served my time.”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, logisticsAfter his release from the prison in Lovelock, Nevada, many expected him to return to Florida where he had lived for several years. But friends in Las Vegas persuaded him to stay there despite the case that landed him in prison.He’s glad he did. MOST READ Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Rafael Nadal, and everyone else, should stop doubting him Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too “The town has been good to me,” Simpson said. “Everybody I meet seems to be apologizing for what happened to me here.”His time in the city hasn’t been without controversy, however. A month after his release an outing to a steakhouse and lounge at the Cosmopolitan resort off the Las Vegas Strip ended in a dispute. Simpson was ordered off the property and prohibited from returning.No such problems have occurred since, and Simpson is among the most sought-after figures in town for selfies with those who encounter him at restaurants or athletic events he attends occasionally.He plays golf almost every day and said he is a member of a club of “retired guys” who compete with each other on the golf course. The knees that helped him run to football glory at the University of Southern California and with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills have been replaced and he recently had Lasik surgery on his eyes. But nearing his 72nd birthday, he is otherwise healthy.Simpson said he remains close to his children and other relatives. His parole officer has given him permission to take short trips including to Florida where his two younger children, Justin and Sydney, have built careers in real estate.ADVERTISEMENT DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cops linking 2 drug cases to murder of Tagudin judge – CJ Peralta PLAY LIST 01:07Cops linking 2 drug cases to murder of Tagudin judge – CJ Peralta03:14Mom of 3 year old girl slain in anti drug ops files raps vs Rodriguez cops00:50Trending Articles02:42PH 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 Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess His older daughter, Arnelle, lives with him much of the time but also commutes to Los Angeles.“I’ve been to Florida two or three times to see the kids and my old buddies in Miami. I even managed to play a game of golf with them,” he said. “But I live in a town I’ve learned to love. Life is fine.”He also visited relatives in Louisiana, he said, and spoke to a group of black judges and prosecutors in New Orleans.Recently, a family wedding brought his extended family to Las Vegas including his brother, Truman; sister, Shirley; and their children and grandchildren. Simpson’s first wife, Marguerite, mother of Arnelle, also joined the group.The glamor of his early life is just a memory.After his football career, Simpson became a commercial pitchman, actor and football commentator. He was once a multimillionaire but he says most of his fortune was spent defending himself after he was charged with the murders.His televised “Trial of the Century” lasted nearly a year and became a national obsession. He was acquitted by a jury in 1995 and has continued to declare his innocence. The murder case is officially listed as unsolved.The families of the victims subsequently filed a civil suit against him, and in 1997 a civil court awarded a $33.5 million judgment against him for the wrongful deaths of his ex-wife and Goldman. Some of his property was seized and auctioned but most of the judgment has not been paid.Simpson declined to discuss his finances other than to say he lives on pensions. Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess This photo provided by Didier J. Fabien shows O.J. Simpson in the garden of his Las Vegas area home on Monday, June 3, 2019. After 25 years living under the shadow of one of the nation’s most notorious murder cases, Simpson says his life now is fine. (Didier J. Fabien via AP)LOS ANGELES — After 25 years living under the shadow of one of the nation’s most notorious murder cases, O.J. Simpson says his life has entered a phase he calls the “no negative zone.”In a telephone Interview, Simpson told The Associated Press he is healthy and happy living in Las Vegas. And neither he nor his children want to look back by talking about June 12, 1994 — when his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman , were killed and Simpson quickly was transformed in the public mind from revered Pro Football Hall of Fame hero to murder suspect.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more