Govt still deducting monies from hinterland teachers’ salaries

first_imgDespite Minister of State Joseph Harmon claiming otherwise, teachers in some parts of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and the hinterland are still being forced to pay 10 per cent of their salaries for housing, despite being seconded to those areas.According to information reaching this publication, monies were deducted from the salaries of head teachers at several schools in Region Three, particularly at Upper Bonasika Primary, Sandhill Primary, Santa Mission Primary, Great Trollie Primary, Caria Caria Primary and San Souci Primary.A source close to the teachers indicated that since the year started, monies were deducted from them for housing despite them being told otherwise.“Once they come from the coast to the hinterland, there is supposed to be State accommodation provided unless teachers refuse the accommodation provided, they will have to pay the cost for wherever they choose to stay,” Harmon previously stated.In a letter previously published by Guyana Times, it is alleged that the head teacher of Saxacalli Primary School was required to pay 10 per cent of his salary as rent for the teacher’s living quarters that he is temporarily occupying.It was also highlighted that hinterland teachers would use their own computers and printers to complete tasks for the school without getting a stipend from the Government for using same. In some instances, the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) is concerned that the aforementioned situation could lead to some teachers returning to the coastland.As such, the PTA has called for the matter to be investigated and dealt with at once since it believes if teachers return to the coastland, it will add to the already fragile situation where the hinterland schools lack teachers.Efforts to contact Region Three Regional Executive Officer, Dennis Jaikaran proved futile.last_img read more

Venezuela tried to land helicopter on ship deck – Greenidge

first_imgExxon research vessel– says Guyana will not be intimidated; urges Venezuela to come to tableBy Jarryl BryanThe Government of Guyana, in conjunction with the parliamentary Opposition, has called on Venezuela to cease its intimidation tactics and respect Guyana’s territory; even as further details emerged about the December 22, 2018 incident involving the Venezuelan navy and an ExxonMobil’s research ship in Guyana’s waters.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl GreenidgeDuring Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge revealed that on the day the Ramform Tethys was forced to abandon its seismic research work, the Venezuelan navy had tried to land a helicopter on the deck on the Norwegian ship.“A reckless attempt was made by the Venezuelans to land a helicopter on the deck of… the Ramform Tethys. That vessel was flagged by the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and had a total of 70 crew members on board including the Captain,” Greenidge revealed.“It (the ship) was intercepted in the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana at an approximate distance of 140 kilometres from the nearest point to the provisional equidistant line with Venezuela and some 250 kilometres from Punta Playa, the westernmost point on the land border of Guyana.”The Minister called on Venezuela to withdraw its decree against Guyana’s rights to explore its territory; a call he noted is fully supported by the Opposition. He also urged the Spanish speaking country to cease these types of military actions and join Guyana in submitting its territorial case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).The Ramform TethysGreenidge stressed that Guyana will not be intimidated by Venezuela’s bombastic display. The Minister made it clear that Guyana has no interest in the Orinoco Delta and it is therefore misleading to claim that the Ramform Tethys was in that area.“On December 23, the Government of Venezuela issued a communique asserting that the incident took place in the same area identified by Guyana but alleging that the position was ‘within the Orinoco River Delta maritime waters over which Venezuela has unquestionable sovereignty. In other words, the coordinates put out by Venezuela and Guyana was practically identical.”“May I stress therefore that Guyana is aware of no incident occurring in the Orinoco Delta or its projection, much less an incident involving vessels having permission from the Guyana authorities to undertake seismic surveys there… Guyana has no interest in the Orinoco River and we had never imagined that the Orinoco Delta could naturally project across the entire coastal front of Guyana,” the Foreign Affairs Minister added.That being said, he also noted that Guyana remained open to dialogue with Venezuela; dialogue that does not infringe on the case currently before the ICJ. Thus far, Venezuela has refused to participate in the ICJ process.“We have reiterated our invitation to Venezuela to join Guyana in seeking a peaceful, just and final resolution of the controversy by participating in the proceedings before the International Court of Justice, presenting all of its claims and defences to the Court, and accepting the final judgement of the Court, in compliance with Article IV (2) of the Geneva Agreement and the binding decision of the Secretary General,” Greenidge stated.On December 22, 2018, ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary announced it was suspending the 3D seismic tests it started only a month ago in Guyana’s Stabroek Block; after the appearance and approach of the Venezuelan navy caused the company’s seismic vessel to pack up shop and vacate the area.Ramform Tethys, the vessel in question, is owned by Norwegian company Petroleum and Geo Services (PGS). The company was contracted by Exxon to carry out tests and acquire seismic data.The incident came at a time when Guyana has an ongoing territorial integrity case with Venezuela. Since Guyana submitted its memorial on jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last year, a date was in turn set for the Venezuelan Government to submit its own counter memorial.This was revealed during the 2019 Budget debates by Greenidge. According to the Minister, April 18, 2019, has been set for Venezuela to submit its counter memorial.When US oil giant ExxonMobil announced the first of multiple oil finds in local waters in 2015, Venezuela renewed its claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Venezuela has been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil, and has since renewed claims to the Essequibo region.On January 30, 2018, Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres concluded that the Good Offices Process – which the parties had engaged in for almost 30 years, but it failed to achieve a solution to the controversy – and chose the ICJ as the next means of settlement, for which Guyana has long been advocating. Sir Shridath Ramphal and Ambassador Audrey Waddell are assisting Minister Greenidge.last_img read more

Ceballos ensures Real Madrid bounce back, Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla

first_imgBarca can re-establish their four-point lead over Atletico with victory later at Girona.“Today we needed the three points. We are not in brilliant form, but for sure we will play better on other days,” said Real boss Zinedine Zidane.Ceballos was one of three changes made to the side that lost to Betis by Zidane as Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were left on the bench ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund.And the Spanish under-21 international settled Madrid’s nerves after just 10 minutes as he caught Fernando Pacheco flat-footed by pulling the ball inside the goalkeeper’s near post from the edge of the area.Alaves caretaker coach Javier Cabello had denied Enzo Zidane the chance to face his father Zinedine and former club as he was left out the Alaves squad.Atletico Madrid’s forward Diego Costa (C) follows the game from the stands during the Spanish league football match against Sevilla FC at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on September 23, 2017 © AFP / CURTO DE LA TORREHowever, Cabello did manage to inspire a more spirited display from the hosts, despite a sixth straight defeat, as they scored their first goal of the season five minutes before half-time.Alaves captain Manu Garcia met Munir El Haddadi’s cross flush to power a header into the top corner.Madrid retook the lead just three minutes later, though, as Ceballos pounced on a poor punch from Pacheco to fire into the bottom corner.Real should have ensured a far more comfortable afternoon after the break as Pacheco made a great save to deny Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo struck the woodwork twice and Sergio Ramos blazed over with the goal at his mercy.Yet, Alaves could also have snatched a first point of the season as Alfonso Pedraza’s deflected effort hit the bar before Pedraza struck the post when clean through on goal.“When you go away having only scored two goals for the chances we had it isn’t a lot,” added Zidane.“But the most important thing was to win the game.”– Atletico impress –Atletico maintained their impressive start to the season despite the difficulties of a ban on registering new players.Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann (R) steps away from Sevilla midfielder Daniel Carrico during the La Liga match at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on September 23, 2017 © AFP / CURTO DE LA TORRECosta won’t be able to feature until January after completing his prolonged return to the club from Chelsea for a reported club record fee of 55 million euros ($66 million), plus 10 million euros in add-ons.“We are happy that a player of his stature wants to come to Atletico Madrid,” Atletico boss Diego Simeone said of Costa’s return.Filipe Luis smashed the underside of the bar with Atletico’s best effort of a first half short on clear-cut chances.But it took less than a minute of the second period to break the deadlock when Carrasco showed great awareness and pace to latch onto a short back pass from Steven N’Zonzi to beat Sergio Rico to the ball, round the keeper and slot into an empty net.Griezmann then made the game safe 20 minutes from time as the French international won a tackle inside the Sevilla box before lifting himself off the floor to receive Luis’s pass and drill through Rico’s legs.“In the first half we found it more difficult and they controlled the game,” added Simeone.“But you could see with Carrasco, Griezmann and Filipe that if we got the final pass right we could win the game.“At the start of the second half we got the goal that put us on the right track.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Real Madrid’s midfielder Daniel Ceballos (R) celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal beside Real Madrid’s defender Dani Carvajal during the Spanish league football match against Deportivo Alaves September 23, 2017 © AFP / ANDER GILLENEAMadrid, Spain, Sep 23 – Dani Ceballos scored twice on his full debut as Real Madrid bounced back from a shock midweek defeat by Real Betis to close to within four points of La Liga leaders Barcelona with a 2-1 win at Alaves on Saturday.Earlier, Diego Costa was an interested spectator as Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Sevilla into second thanks to goals from Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann in a 2-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.last_img read more

Germany boss Loew embraces World Cup favourites tag

first_img0Shares0000Germany’s head coach Joachim Loew oversees a training session on the eve of a friendly match against France, in Cologne, on November 13, 2017 © AFP/File / PATRIK STOLLARZBERLIN, Germany, Nov 30 – Joachim Loew is comfortable with Germany carrying the favourites tag for next year’s World Cup, but the head coach has a few areas to strengthen before his team’s title defence in Russia.England or Spain are lurking in pot two as potential group-stage opponents for the world champions in Friday’s draw at Moscow. Loew talked about the 2018 finals as being “the hardest tournament so far” of his 12-year reign in charge, because the Germans will be the team to beat.“I am completely relaxed and don’t have any sleepless nights,” insisted Loew after a 2-2 draw against France in their final friendly of 2017 a fortnight ago.Germany are in rude health and unbeaten in their last 21 internationals, dating back to the defeat by France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.“We have worked on building an incredibly good base. We know what we can do, so I am not nervous anymore about our preparations,” he added.Germany’s players pose for the team photograph ahead of their friendly match against England, at Wembley Stadium in London, on November 10, 2017 © AFP/File / Glyn KIRKLoew’s goal is to arrive in Russia with every position covered, but he needs key players to return from injury and to find understudies for wing-backs Jonas Hector and Joshua Kimmich.Borussia Dortmund playmaker Marco Reus has been out since May with a knee injury, while captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is not expected back until January at the earliest after fracturing his foot.Juventus defender Benedikt Hoewedes and Dortmund winger Andre Schuerrle, both of whom played in the 2014 final victory over Argentina, are out of form.– Midfield options –However, he is not short of options, especially in midfield.Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan is back fit after a serious knee injury while Mario Goetze, whose extra-time goal won the final three years ago, is shining in a struggling Dortmund team after recovering from a metabolic disorder.Loew’s gamble to rest all of his 2014 stars and take an inexperienced squad to the Confederations Cup in Russia earlier this year paid off when they beat Chile 1-0 to win the tournament.Midfielder Leon Goretzka and forward Lars Stindl forced their way into Loew’s World Cup plans with strong displays.Timo Werner proved himself as a fleet-footed striker with great finishing, ending Germany’s wait for a replacement for Miroslav Klose.The World Cup’s all-time top-scorer with 16 goals retired from international duty after Brazil, and will carry the trophy onto the stage for the draw.The Germans cruised through qualifying with 10 wins, and Loew has secured tough opponents for friendlies next March, against Spain in Duesseldorf and Brazil in Berlin, to further test his plans.This will be his last chance to look at potential combinations before the squad is announced in May and by his own admission, Germany are not yet firing on all cylinders.In November friendlies, Gareth Southgate’s England were unlucky to finish with only a goalless draw after largely outplaying the Germans at Wembley.Only a last-gasp equaliser from Stindl rescued another draw with France in Cologne.“Even after this outstanding year, our game still needs to click, things need to become automatic,” said Loew.It is still unclear where the Germans will be based for the World Cup, the main options being Moscow and Sochi.Team manager Oliver Bierhoff preaches the practicalities of Moscow, the main hub for flights around the world’s biggest country.However, the players raved about the benefits of Sochi’s beach and sea-air when they were based on the Black Sea for the Confederations Cup.“One has to look at lots of aspects, also the logistics,” said Bierhoff.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Griezmann hat-trick as Atletico trounce Sevilla

first_img“I’m very happy with the team’s work, but a little less happy that we conceded two goals,” said Griezmann.“It’s good that we have several forwards who score goals, but the most important thing is the three points.”Former Chelsea star Diego Costa grabbed the opener just before the half-hour mark after a farcical mix-up in the Sevilla defence.Goalkeeper Sergio Rico attempted to play a short ball to Ever Banega standing on the edge of the penalty area.However, his teammate dallied too long and predator Costa nipped in to steal the ball off the toe of the Argentine before confidently burying the opportunity.Sevilla had plenty of chances with Colombian striker Luis Muriel seeing Atletico keeper Jan Oblak deny him with a smart save.Three minutes from the break, Griezmann scored his first of the night when he danced between three defenders to score with a fierce right-footed drive past Rico.Griezmann made it 3-0 five minutes into the second half, converting his team’s first La Liga penalty of the season after Costa was brought down by Rico.Three of the best: Antoine Griezmann celebrates his hat-trick © AFP / Cristina QuiclerSevilla imploded with Koke making it 4-0 after more suicidal defending before Griezmann completed his hat-trick on 80 minutes, taking his Liga tally to 11 for the season.The home side salvaged a degree of pride when Pablo Sarabia and Nolito tucked away goals in the last five minutes.On Saturday, Luis Suarez hit a hat-trick as Barcelona thrashed neighbours Girona 6-1 while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Real Madrid in a 4-0 defeat of Alaves.Real are third, seven points behind Atletico and 14 back from Barcelona.Earlier on Sunday, Santi Mina scored both goals as Valencia defeated Real Sociedad 2-1 to stay firmly on course for the Champions League next season.The victory took fourth-placed Valencia to 49 points, just two behind Real and eight ahead of Villarreal in the race for spots in the continent’s top club competition.Valencia went ahead in the 34th minute with a Santi Mina header before Mikel Oyarzabal levelled with a powerful drive after 54 minutes.However, a mistake by Sociedad goalkeeper Tono Ramirez 13 minutes later allowed Mina to tuck away the second goal and ensure the three points against rivals who were eliminated from the Europa League on Thursday at the hands of Salzburg.– En-Nesyri’s rollercoaster –Athletic Bilbao came from a goal down to defeat rock-bottom Malaga 2-1 on a roller-coaster day for Moroccan international striker Youssef En-Nesyri.The 20-year-old gave Malaga a 12th minute lead, finishing off a cross from the right hand side.Markel Susaeta levelled five minutes later before a half-volley from Mikel San Jose secured the win for Athletic just before half-time.En-Nesryi then missed a penalty on the hour when his spot-kick was saved by Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.His frustrations then got the better of him when he was red-carded six minutes from time after picking up a second booking.Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo saved two penalties as his side beat Getafe 1-0 to consolidate their push for European football next season.Turkey international Enes Unal scored the only goal at El Madrigal after just three minutes and Asenjo preserved the lead by saving a first-half spot-kick from Angel Rodriguez.The 28-year-old then kept out a Jorge Molina penalty on 51 minutes to allow Villarreal to climb above Sevilla into fifth after halting a run of three league matches without a win.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Take that: Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa celebrates after giving his team the lead in Seville © AFP / Cristina QuiclerMADRID, Spain, Feb 26 – French striker Antoine Griezmann hit a hat-trick as Atletico Madrid thrashed Sevilla 5-2 on Sunday to cut the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona back to seven points.The result was also a boost for Manchester United, who face Sevilla in the Champions League last 16 second leg next month afer the two sides were locked 0-0 from the first game.last_img read more

Champions League news: Predicted Real Madrid line-up to face Roma

first_img 11 11 4. Sergio Ramos (centre-back) 11 11 11 11 11 7. Cristiano Ronaldo (forward) 10. James Rodriguez (midfield) 12. Marcelo (left-back) Real Madrid head to Italy to face Roma on Wednesday evening in search of an historic 11th Champions League triumph.Los Blancos are undefeated since club legend Zinedine Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez at the start of January, winning five of his six games and scoring 23 goals in the process.However, he will have to keep up this form if he is to end Real Madrid’s 29-year hoodoo, which has seen them fail to win a two-legged European tie against an Italian team.They do have this season’s top scorer in their arsenal. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 11 goals already – five more than the next highest, Robert Lewandowski.Zidane is also boosted with the inclusion of Marcelo, despite the Brazilian dislocating his shoulder during the 2-1 victory over Granada on February 7.So who will be included in Zidane’s first Champions League starting XI? Click the arrow above, right, to see the predicted Real Madrid line up in squad number order. 9. Karim Benzema (forward) 1. Keylor Navas (goalkeeper) – Click the arrow, right, to see the predicted Real Madrid XI in squad number order 11 11 8. Toni Kroos (midfield) 11 11 15. Dani Carvajal (right-back) 2. Raphael Varane (centre-back) 14. Luka Modric (midfield) 22. Isco (forward)last_img read more

Jack Wilshere relishing central role with England

first_img1 Jack Wilshere started in England’s win over Turkey Fit-again Jack Wilshere is happier being England’s middle man than playing out wide at Arsenal.Wilshere returned to Roy Hodgson’s XI in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Turkey, having started just once for the Gunners at the end of a season ruined by a broken leg.The 24-year-old was understandably short of his top form in the Euro 2016 warm-up, and came off after 66 minutes, but all indications are that he will be on the plane to France barring an unexpected breakdown.And Hodgson’s faith extends not only to Wilshere’s fitness, but also his best position.At Arsenal he is often required to play on the flank when available but Hodgson immediately restored him to his preferred slot in the centre.“With Arsenal I’ve been playing out wide, which is not me,” said Wilshere.“I’m not a wide man, but Roy seems to have faith in me in the middle, so I’m happy with that. I like to play anywhere in the middle.“I played the holding role before and I really enjoy that, and, this time I was a bit higher up the pitch and I enjoyed that as well.“I’ve worked with Roy now and his staff for a number of years and they know what I bring and I know what they want from me as well.”Wilshere is bullish about his readiness for the tournament, despite his lack of game time and reputation for fragility.Gunners boss Arsene Wenger could have used him earlier than he did at the end of the campaign, but erred on the side of caution.That has left Wilshere eager to be back on the pitch and he hopes to feature in both of England’s remaining friendlies against Australia and Portugal.“You always have those days when you are in the gym where you think you’re not going to get back, but the thing that kept me going was I know what it takes to get back and I always had time on my side so I was confident,” he said.“I remember my first training session back, which was eight weeks ago, and ever since then I’ve just been trying to work, get better and get fitter each day.“The most important thing for me now is to get games and to get that match sharpness.“I know what it’s like coming back from injury and with every game I’ll feel better.”last_img read more

Latest: Chelsea 2 Hull 0 – Blues close in on another win

first_imgDiego Costa’s eighth goal in seven home Premier League appearances kept Chelsea on course for victory against 10-man Hull.Costa coolly found the bottom corner after a lovely move soon after Tom Huddlestone was sent off for a dangerous over-the-ball challenge on Filipe Luis in an increasingly feisty game.Chelsea led at the break thanks to Eden Hazard’s fine header from Oscar’s inviting seventh-minute cross following some great work by John Mikel Obi.Mikel, who replaced the suspended Cesc Fabregas in midfield, won possession and then found Oscar on the left wing and the Brazilian’s centre was expertly guided in.But having gone ahead, Jose Mourinho’s league leaders failed to create many clear chances with their main threat coming from the ever-willing Branislav Ivanovic and the trickery and class of Hazard.Hull recovered from a shaky start and threatened on occasions, with Sone Aluko blasting their best opportunity over the bar from distance.Costa was almost gifted a one-on-one chance after a defensive lapse, while Gary Cahill was cautioned for a clumsy challenge that stopped Aluko 30 yards from goal.But the Spaniard’s calm first-time finish, after Huddlestone was red-carded, settled the nerves after the break. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Lightning Fries Impact Theory

first_imgA signature in rock that was thought to come from extraterrestrial impacts could have been caused by plain old lightning.“Impact Geologists, Beware!”Manicouagan Crater in Quebec, believed to be an impact craterThat’s the headline of a short paper in Geophysical Research Letters by H. J. Melosh of Purdue. His subtitle is, “A Cautionary Tale for Impact Geologists.”  Why the alarm? Another “proxy” for an unobserved event has come under fire – literally. Lightning fire.For decades, geologists have looked at shocked quartz as an unambiguous sign of an asteroid impact. Only the pressure and heat of an impact could shock quartz sufficiently to produce what was seen. Geologists clung to this notion even when there was no evidence of an impact. There are places in Argentina and in Australia like that, Melosh says. But since the shocked quartz was an “infallible” sign of impact, what else could they conclude?On Earth, meteorite impacts are among the most rare of geologic events. On our planet, lightning strikes more often than meteorites. Things just got tougher for impact geologists.There are now evidences that ordinary lightning can produce pressure waves and temperatures sufficient to shock quartz. Fulgurites are peculiar “fossils” of lightning that form when bolts strike the ground. Studies of fulgurites show that they, too, can exhibit “planar deformation features” (PDFs) that were considered diagnostic of impacts. Both pressures and temperatures achievable by lightning overlap into the ranges thought only possible from impacts. So what’s the upshot? Melosh concludes,The overall consequence of this important paper will be to increase the workload on impact geologists: In the future, it will not be enough to find PDFs in quartz to demonstrate the presence of an impact event, but impact proponents will also have to rule out lightning strikes as well. Given the other peculiarities of fulgurites, this should not be impossible, but it will serve as a reminder that on Earth, meteorite impacts are among the most rare of geologic events. On our planet, lightning strikes more often than meteorites. Lightning storms from Earth orbit (NASA)Astronauts commonly see lightning from earth orbit, but there are no accounts of astronauts witnessing a large impactor coming in. Even if few bolts actually create shocked quartz crystals, the sheer number of lightning storms taking place all the time on the planet seems a much more likely source for the phenomenon.Geologists may develop new, unequivocal methods for distinguishing lightning-caused shocked quartz to that from impacts. What’s instructive here is another case of misplaced trust in an “infallible” proxy for unobserved past events. For decades we have heard geologists invoke impacts to explain everything from climate changes to the death of the dinosaurs. What other proxy measurements have you run across? (See “Geology Fail: The Problem with Proxies” from 6/25/2015). Proxies are extremely common in climate science.Another noteworthy take-home lesson from this article is the quote that “meteorite impacts are among the most rare of geologic events.” Thank God for that. Earth would not be the beautiful, habitable place it is if extinction-level events were common. Scars of impacts do exist (e.g., Barringer Crater in Arizona), but most impactors burn up in the atmosphere. Descriptions in the book of Revelation, though, seem to suggest some big ones are coming in the last days of judgment (Revelation 8).(Visited 716 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Austria Passive House Takes a Star Turn

first_imgClick here to see a video showing construction details of the Whistler Passivhaus.Green construction at the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver has attracted a fair amount of attention during the past few weeks. It might not compete with the rush of adrenalin and awe that accompanies snowboarder stunts in the halfpipe, but it has helped raise the profile of energy efficient housing among the games’ visitors and those of us who can admire it from afar. As we’ve noted, the mix of apartments, townhomes, and hostel accommodations in Whistler Olympic Village was designed to qualify for a Gold rating under the LEED for Neighborhood Development certification system. And at least one builder, RDC Fine Homes, is showcasing energy efficient private homes, including Whistler’s first house with rammed-earth walls – a 3,500-sq.-ft. four-bedroom luxury chalet priced at $4.85 million – and the town’s first net-zero-energy home, also built by RDC, called 2010 Net Zero House (2,200 sq. ft., and not currently listed for sale).A municipal gemOne of the biggest draws, though, continues to be Austria House, a Passivhaus structure collaboratively designed and constructed by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, builders from Austria and Canada, and several suppliers. The two-story building has been serving as the Austrian Olympic Committee’s communications center. After the games, it will be operated by the Resort Municipality of Whistler and used year-round by local cross-country skiing, snowshoe, and off-road cycling groups.Perhaps best of all for the green building industry, Austria House, also known as Austria Passive House 2010, will serve as a landmark in western Canada – a durable showcase for the Passivhaus standard and the performance it delivers.It didn’t come cheaply, though. As explained in a story recently published by CBC News, the 3,000-sq.-ft. building cost about $1.23 million U.S. to build, including a $143,000 grant by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, or about $408 per sq. ft. The overall cost might have been higher but for the fact that many of the construction materials, including the wood and interior materials, were donated by Austrian companies and then delivered via container ship to Canada. Also, Whistler donated the land for the project and paid for the piping and utilities. The project collaborators acknowledge that importing materials from Europe is not a green process, but it was done to highlight not only energy efficient design but Austrian products.In any case, visitors apparently have been loving it, whether they’re interested in building performance or not. Austria House is equipped with beer taps (Stiegl beer pulls can be seen in one of the photos above), a wine bar, and an exceptionally well-equipped espresso bar. Outside, there’s a schnapps hut. What’s not to like?last_img read more