Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio had a noteworthy presence at the 2017 AFBF Annual Convention in Phoenix last week in terms people, policy and recognition.“There is a lot of creativity, talent and trying new things from Ohio’s county Farm Bureaus. Our counties seem to be trying new and innovative ways to interact with the broader public. Having strong county Farm Bureaus makes you stronger at the state and national levels,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau. “We had 132 people there from Ohio, so we had a great group of people.”The large Ohio turnout at the event was partially due to the incredible innovation at the county level in Ohio. Ohio county Farm Bureaus won one-third of the nation’s top county programs. Every year the American Farm Bureau Federation recognizes the top 24 county Farm Bureau programs through its County Activities of Excellence awards.“There are about 3,000 county Farm Bureaus in the country and each year they pick 24 county activities of excellence. Of the 24 they recognized, Ohio had eight winners. That is huge,” Sharp said. “Then the winning counties got to send several members to the AFBF Annual Convention to set up a booth at the trade show. They had a constant flow of people interacting with them about their projects in Ohio. There were some great Ohio projects from policy work, to drones in agriculture to the symphony in the barn fundraiser in Delaware County.”Shelby County’s Sarah and Aaron Heilers finished in the top 10 finalists in the Excellence in Agriculture competition. Photo by OFBF.At the state level, the Ohio Farm Bureau was recognized with the New Horizon Award for innovative programming.“We are competing with a dozen or so other states in our membership size category, so of our like-sized state Farm Bureaus we won the award. We won for our County Water Quality Initiative Program that has put out about $300,000 to our county Farm Bureaus that find partners to match that money for water quality projects. To date, in the project that is just starting its third year, we have leveraged about $1 million,” Sharp said. “It is typically more than a dollar-for-dollar match with the projects at the local level around the state for water quality work. Examples include cover crop demonstrations, buying drills in partnership with SWCDs for farmers to use to plant cover crops, various types of education projects, and the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper app in Knox County. It has funded a broad range of things to help improve water quality. I am not aware of any state doing anything like this.”In addition, Shelby County’s Sarah and Aaron Heilers finished in the top 10 finalists in the Excellence in Agriculture competition.Ohioans were also very active in helping to set new American Farm Bureau policy. An Ohio proposal led to the adoption of a set of policies on the use of drones at night. Another Ohio-driven policy adopted at the national level urges the FDA to provide more clarification and outreach around the newly implemented Veterinary Feed Directive. Ohio Farm Bureau also led a policy effort asking for federal, state, and local officials to create consistent processes for obtaining depredation permits with regard to black vultures and other predators. Ohio and several other states pushed for policy to keep nutrition and farm programs together in the next farm bill.Overall, it was a great year for the Ohio Farm Bureau, Sharp said, which is a reflection on the work being done at the grassroots level.“These things all highlight the fact that we have strong county Farm Bureaus,” he said. “We know the strength of organizations can ebb and flow but our county Farm Bureaus are constantly innovating and tying to improve themselves.”Beyond the work done by Ohioans, delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Convention covered the full range of agriculture policy.Resolutions passed included important measures covering regulatory reform, crop insurance, the inclusion of food assistance in the upcoming farm bill, school nutrition, biotechnology, energy and more.“The actions…by our farmer and rancher delegates from across the nation represent the culmination of our year-long grassroots policy process,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “It also provides us a roadmap for actions AFBF will take to implement our policies throughout this year, and I am optimistic about those prospects.” Regulatory reformDelegates approved policy supporting regulatory reform, including legislation to eliminate “judicial deference,” which has essentially nullified the power of the courts to serve as a check on agency abuses.Also on the topic of regulations, delegates approved policy to oppose agency advocacy campaigns in support of their own proposed regulations.Delegates passed a sense-of-the-body resolution calling for comprehensive regulatory reform, driving home the importance of the issue for farmers and ranchers.New language was approved to require the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies to coordinate and cooperate in a meaningful way with state and local governments in making land management plans and decisions as required by Congress. They also supported mandatory recusal for federal officers who face conflicts of interest in their work. Hunger and nutritionDelegates overwhelmingly approved language supporting efforts to fund nutrition programs including food assistance and school lunches through the same, unified farm bill that funds farm safety-net programs.Delegates also called on Congress to support incorporating all types of domestic fruits and vegetables into the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schools. Delegates supported the use of fresh and locally grown product when available. Farm supportDelegates reaffirmed strong support for risk-management and safety-net tools to defend against volatile commodity markets. ImmigrationDelegates reaffirmed support for flexibility in the H-2A program that would allow workers to seek employment from more than one farmer. Big DataDelegates reaffirmed support for the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers, voting that farmers should be compensated when their data is used by third parties. Delegates also supported sale of proprietary data to third parties.
Complexity, likewise, creates problems for the end users. I thought he was going to talk about how difficult it is to get a good building enclosure or mechanical system with a complex design. More than most of us in the industry, though, Robert Bean has a laser focus on the people who live in, work in, and otherwise occupy buildings, so he sees the problem of complexity all the way down to the occupant. It’s certainly important for all the people who work on the building, but as Bean said about operating the systems in a home, “If it’s so complex the consumer has to actually learn the designer’s profession, they won’t use it.”The combustion pigOK, let’s tackle the tough one now. You may be thinking that he said we’ve got to get rid of combustion because of air pollution or because it’s mainly from fossil fuels. You’d be wrong if so. His argument was efficiency — but not energy efficiency. He introduced a quantity that not too many people have heard of — exergy — and said that exergy efficiency is more important than energy efficiency in analyzing how we use energy.I have to admit I don’t understand exergy well. I’ve seen it mentioned in the past but have never jumped in to see what it’s all about. Since catching the presentation last week, though, I’ve been reading about it more and also spent an hour on the phone with Robert trying to get a handle on it.A little bit about heat and efficiencyIt’s hard to talk about exergy without at least dipping our toes into the thermodynamics pool, but I’ll try to keep this at the 3,000 meter level. (That’s ~10,000 feet for you civilians.) First, exergy is generally defined as the maximum amount of useful work (energy) you can get by moving heat from a higher temperature source to a lower temperature sink.For example, you can burn a fuel like coal to create a high temperature, converting chemical to thermal energy. Then you can use the heat to make high-pressure steam, converting the thermal energy to mechanical energy that can be used to turn a turbine that generates electricity. As the energy moves through the system, it does work and the temperature drops. A real power plant doesn’t extract the maximum amount of useful work from the energy because real systems are always less efficient than the ideal.And that, of course, brings us to Sadi Carnot and the maximum theoretical efficiency of heat engines. Carnot came up with the idea of an upper limit for energy efficiency, which is now called the Carnot efficiency. That theoretical efficiency depends only on the temperatures of the source and the sink. (For the record, it’s calculated as 1 – [TC/TH], where TC is the sink temperature and TH is the source temperature.) The bigger the temperature difference between source and sink, the higher the theoretical efficiency.When you multiply the Carnot efficiency by the amount of heat available, you find the maximum amount of useful work you can get from those two temperatures. Go back to the first paragraph of this section and you’ll find that this is exactly what we defined as exergy.Bean’s takeIn his presentation (which you can download from the BSC website), Bean showed calculations of exergy efficiencies for different fuels with different temperatures. For example, natural gas combustion results in an exergy efficiency of 6.1% (slide 172), whereas using solar thermal energy can be done at an exergy efficiency of 20.1% (slide 174). Those are all based on the temperatures of the source energy: 3,400°F for natural gas and 220°F for solar thermal.Based on those calculations, Bean says that we should opt for lower temperature sources of fuel. The way he put it is that it doesn’t make sense to create heat at a temperature of 3,400°F when we’re trying to heat our homes with fluids at a temperature on the order of 100°F. If we used sources with temperatures closer to 100°F, we’d be doing the job with a much higher exergy efficiency.According to Bean, using combustion to heat our homes is like doing backyard gardening with a trackhoe. It’s like hammering in finishing nails with a sledgehammer. It’s like using a Turbo-Thermo-Encabulator Max to harvest dental floss! (OK, he didn’t really say that last one.)My take on Bean’s take is that the temperature of the fuel is the main thing you need to look at because it governs the exergy. Rather than using high-temperature sources of energy, he thinks we need to leave the combustion for industrial processes and let the lower-temperature “waste” heat filter down to the low-grade uses like space heating.My difficulties with the exergy analysisI’m far from the smartest person who goes to Summer Camp. In fact, I was in the bottom half of my class in graduate school and usually have to work hard to understand the more abstract concepts. If I were a Richard Feynman or a Lise Meitner, the deep remifications of exergy would probably be immediately obvious to me. But I’m not and they aren’t, so I’m still sitting here trying to figure it all out nearly a week after Robert gave his presentation.One thing Robert and I went back and forth on when I spoke with him about this was his use of temperatures to draw conclusions. The trackhoe versus trowel contrast above works because of the vastly different capacities of the two tools. But temperature isn’t energy. A burning match at 1,400°F has a lot less energy available for heating than a 10,000 gallon tank of water at 100°F.Who cares, I said to Robert, that a gas furnace burns at a high temperature if it’s a condensing furnace and you’re extracting 96% of the BTUs and using them to heat the building? After spending an hour talking with him on the phone, the best I could make of this is that an exergy analysis doesn’t really help you when you’re looking at a single building. Its best use if for deciding how to use energy on a large scale.In Bean’s view, the best use for high-temperature fuels is for industrial purposes. Then you use the moderate temperature “waste” heat for processes that can’t use lower temperatures. Only at the bottom of the chain do you use what’s left for heating buildings.Now my mind is wandering to entropy and air conditioning and the distribution of electricity. I’m thinking about thermodynamic potentials, statistical mechanics, and the words of David Goodstein:Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying Statistical Mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study Statistical Mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the subject cautiously.My brain is hurting and my self-esteem is waning. But at least I can read the shirt Marc Rosenbaum was wearing on the last day of Summer Camp!Can you? (Hint: It’s his alma mater.) Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESA Plethora of Building Science ConferencesAll About Radiant FloorsRainscreen Gaps and IgloosStuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 1Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 2 Why we should consider simplicity during the design phase Building Science Summer Camp was last week. That means I was in Massachusetts with 500 of my closest friends, staying up too late, talking building science out the wazoo, and attending some great presentations from leaders in the world of building science.My big takeaways from Summer Camp this year were Marty Houston’s “hairy hand of quality,” Robert Bean’s three little pigs, and a black toenail. The first was a striking image, the second is the topic of this article, and the third will probably fall off in a few days. (Sorry. If that makes you squeamish, just be glad I didn’t tell you how I relieved the pressure.)The customization and complexity pigsThe three little pigs that Robert Bean was referring to are combustion, customization, and complexity. I’ll save combustion for last because that’s where he used his most sophisticated arguments, including a term you may not be familiar with. Customization and complexity are similar but independent. A customized building can be simple, and a complex building could be standardized. Both customization and complexity, however, end up making sustainability a harder goal to reach.Customization, Bean said, is the opposite of standardization. If a mechanical contractor, for example, provides customized heating and air conditioning systems for every house he works on in a 40-year career, he may be leaving a lot of little nightmares for the service contractors who have to go in later and figure the system out. Here’s how Bean described it:You can take a contractor and plop a box full of parts in front of him, and he will interpret in his own mind with his own creativity how those parts should look when they’re assembled. So what happens is that if you go back twenty years or so, contractor A did it in contractor A’s way for that day on that jobsite. In today’s time, he’s done that for 20 years, and so have millions of other contractors, which means you can’t walk into a mechanical room and find the same system. It’s virtually impossible to go into any mechanical room, if it’s hydronic specifically, and find any standardized method.If you continue that process into the future — 5, 10, 20 years … over a 40-year period you have this smorgasbord of mechanical systems owned by consumers who haven’t got a clue what this is about. If you’re a contractor and get a call to service this system, where do you even begin?… And the sin in all of that is that the guy who did the customization, when he retires, he walks away from the system and he doesn’t care. He’s retired. The person he did the customized work for, they own it for life.
Haryana’s principal Opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), on Monday asked the Centre to take steps for an early completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal. Leader of the Opposition in Haryana Assembly Abhay Singh Chautala-led delegation met Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari and impressed upon him the early completion of the SYL canal as directed by the Supreme Court. They also requested him to urge the Haryana government to follow the Supreme Court directive regarding compensation to the farmers whose land is to be acquired for the Dadupur-Nalvi canal and continue with the project.Mr. Chautala drew the attention of Mr. Gadkari to the fast depleting ground water in the State. “As it is, South Haryana has already become ‘dark zone’ and a worried Supreme Court has put restrictions on construction. North Haryana, the basmati bowl of the State, too has slipped in the ‘critical’ zone. Thus almost the whole of the State is sliding towards ‘dark’ zone and hence would become infertile and desert due to unavailability of water,” he said. This would have serious repercussions on the social and economic front, he added.Mr. Chautala said that Mr. Gadkari assured them that if the Dadupur-Nalvi canal project were scrapped, the Centre would contribute towards meeting the additional expenses.
The squabbling Kochi IPL franchise on Sunday got yet another breather from the BCCI which decided to defer the decision on its fate till December 5 after the consortium’s investors reached a last-minute agreement over their shareholding pattern.At a meeting of the IPL’s Governing Council here, the BCCI deferred the decision on the franchise for a third time after the expiry of a month-long deadline given to it for sorting out its internal bickering.”They have disclosed their ownership pattern. Our legal experts will study the papers. There was no discussion with the investors because we are not legal experts. BCCI will take a decision on December 5 in Mumbai, ” BCCI President Shashank Manohar told reporters after the meeting.Barely seven months after becoming the second most costliest team in the Indian Premier League, Kochi was on the verge of being thrown out of the event.But the owners of the beleaguered franchise made a last ditch attempt to save the outfit by reaching a compromise last night.Before the compromise, the investors of the franchise, which was bought for a staggering sum of Rs 1533.33 crore, had written to the BCCI informing them of their intention to withdraw from the IPL.That letter was sent after the BCCI, which had on October 10 expelled Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals for allegedly violating contractual agreements, gave a termination notice of 30 days to the franchise to sort out internal disputes regarding the shareholding pattern.The investors in the consortium — Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave – hold 74 per cent of the equity.advertisementThe remaining 26 per cent lies with the Gaikwad family — Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents all part of Rendezvous Sports World – as free equity for services rendered while bidding.It is this 26 per cent which became a bone of contention among the stakeholders as the investors were in no mood to give free equity to the Gaikwad family.The Gaikwads, on their part, initially refused to part with the equity but have now agreed to forego at least some of it to put an end to the squabbling which threatens the very existence of the team.The BCCI has made it clear that eight teams will take part in the fourth edition of the league scheduled from April 8, just six days after the World Cup.With PTI inputs