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Cage assistants Moeketsi Momlekoa andNdlaka Mtano at the shaft at Harmony Gold Mine in Welkom, Free State. The Expanded Public Works Programme aims to give the jobless short-term work that will train them in the skills they need tofind permanent employment. (Image:Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com.For more photos, visit the image library.)Janine ErasmusThe Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), set up by the South African government in 2004 to fight poverty by using existing government budgets to create jobs in labour-intensive projects, has reached one of its major goals a full year ahead of schedule – it has created over a million new job opportunities.In his State of the Nation address in 2003 President Thabo Mbeki announced the new initiative, aimed at drawing at least 1-million jobless people into productive work between 2004 and 2009. Of those, 40% would be women, 30% would be youth and 2% would be disabled.The EPWP arose out of the 2003 Growth and Development Summit, which explored the causes of unemployment. The programme is the major instrument of the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) poverty alleviation strategy, working as a bridge between South Africa’s formal and informal economies.The EPWP has two major components: creating employment using labour-intensive methods, and giving people skills they can use to find jobs when their work in the EPWP is done.Although the projects have a limited lifespan, the main focus is on skills development and access to work, which allows the previously unemployed to take their first steps into the job market.Making an impactIn her annual budget speech in parliament in May 2008, Minister of Public Works Thoko Didiza said the target of a million jobs had been reached by the end of April. Exactly 1 077 801 work opportunities had been created, way ahead of the March 2009 deadline.The EPWP had also surpassed its targets for women and youth, who made up 47% and 40% respectively of those employed.Didiza cited examples of the impact the EPWP has had on the lives of ordinary South Africans. One is Samuel Mangena of Limpopo, a former farmworker who, with the help of the EPWP, brought two acres of land under cultivation, growing tomatoes and other crops. He is now so successful he is able to employ six workers full-time and another 10 seasonally. “Such a daring spirit of entrepreneurial adventure should be an inspiration to the country,” said Didiza.She also mentioned the Siyazenzela waste management project, which combines job creation with care for the environment. In the programme, modelled after one used in Curituba, Brazil, poor households collect garbage from their neighbourhoods and exchange it for food vouchers and groceries. Piloted in KwaZulu-Natal, the programme is to be rolled out to other provinces.“The majority of participants in the Expanded Public Works Programme have earned income during their involvement,” said Didiza, “which made it possible for them to support their families and invest in entrepreneurial activities that have become sustainable after they exited the programme. This has been possible because of the limited training they received while working in the various projects.”She highlighted the Kamoso Awards, initiated in 2007 to reward municipalities, provinces, and other public bodies that showed excellence in implementing the infrastructure component of EPWP in their regions. It was later expanded to include the economy, environment, and social interventions. The awards were presented in July 2008.“The EPWP has been very effective in reaching the target of 1-million work opportunities a year ahead of schedule,” the minister said. “However, we recognise that given the state of unemployment in the country, the EPWP needs to be significantly bigger.”Because of this, says EPWP chief director Ismail Akhalwaya, the programme’s targets may be revised, one of which may be the creation of 1.5-million job opportunities every year by 2014.Phase twoThe second phase of the EPWP, set to launch in March 2009, will include targets up to 2014. The DPW has studied similar systems in Argentina and India and is hoping to introduce some of those methods into phase two.The Indian National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees 100 days of work annually to at least one unskilled and unemployed person in a rural household where no one has a job, is one of the strategies studied by the DPW. This and other initiatives were on the agenda at the International Labour Organisation’s 12th regional seminar on promoting labour-intensive practices, held in November 2007 in Durban.The use of legislation to address unemployment is still a much-discussed topic, with some experts saying it could increase social dependence and corruption. On the other hand, those in favour argue that the legal route would overcome current objections regarding the temporary nature of EPWP jobs, and would cost up to R30-billion annually in wages compared with the R3-billion currently disbursed – making a far greater impact on poverty.Also under consideration is the potential contribution to the EPWP of non-state institutions such as NGOs and community-based organisations, as well as the private sector and its large number of corporate social responsibility projects.The Business Trust, an association of local companies that works with government to create jobs and provide skills training, already participates in the EPWP, committing R100-million for the programme’s first five years.The EPWP is specifically looking at proposals that will halve the number of unemployed by 2014, said Didiza, in accordance with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Under this international programme governments and organisations around the world are working to reduce poverty and provide unemployment for all, including women and the youth, by 2015.Unfortunately, only 14% of EPWP beneficiaries have found permanent jobs afterwards. But Akhalwaya says this problem will be addressed. “The EPWP is an ongoing programme,” he said, “and for phase two we will make the necessary changes to its design, including training and exit strategies, that will improve its ability to deliver on its objectives.”Poor-quality training is another problem the second phase will attempt to solve. “We are using the remainder of the period to address some of the challenges, and to lay out a much larger programme for the next five years,” he said.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at email@example.com.Related articlesSocial development in South AfricaDrive to create a million jobsUseful linksExpanded Public Works ProgrammeDepartment of Public WorksThe Business TrustMillennium Development Goals
The invitation was too cool to be real: My name was somehow on a list of “experts” who were invited to take part in a Building America Water Heater Expert Session on combo systems. The invite noted that the session was to be the day before Joe Lstiburek’s Building Science Summer Camp, and “it is expected that the information obtained will lend itself toward the eventual production of a guide for the best practice application of combination space and domestic water heating systems for new and retrofit residential construction.”I noticed a heavy representation of tankless water heater manufacturers, as well as researchers and giants of the industry Gary Klein and Larry Weingarten. Martin Holladay was invited as designated skeptic and naysayer, a role he served vigorously.Needless to say, I got there an hour earlyTo get us started, Hugh Magande from Rinnai ran us through the ignition sequence of the Rinnai condensing and modulating domestic water heater and discussed improvements they have made to shorten it, especially on re-starts after a brief off cycle, to reduce the “cold water sandwich” problem.Originally the systems required a ten-second cold fan run to clear any residual propane from the combustion chamber and “prove draft” before starting the ignition sequence. Rinnai has reduced this time; the new range is from 10 seconds to as low as 2 seconds to cold start and shorter for re-start after short off periods (short bursts of hot water in close sequence). Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 2Using a Tankless Water Heater for Space HeatStorage vs. Tankless Water Heaters RELATED ARTICLES Rinnai has responded to the new ultra-low-flow faucets by dropping the low-flow limit from .7 to .4 gpm for cold start and .2 gpm for re-start, but with less than .3 triggering the shutdown. Once first burn is proved, the two central gas valves ignite and, if water doesn’t come up to temperature, two more light, then two more. Water is heated to as high as 180°F and then mixed down to the set-point by a computerized mixing valve.Setting the water temperature too cold can cause low-flame issues, so a 140°F set-point leads to the cleanest burn. Cooler intake water is directly related to better energy efficiency. At 100°F the water heater has an efficiency of 91%; at 110°F that drops to 89%, at 120°F only 88%, and at 130°F intake water it drops it to 86%.Of course, a few years ago we considered 86% efficiency to be pretty darn good, but these days we’re seeking durability and low first cost at 90% efficiency — plus the capacity to provide both domestic hot water and space heating.What could possibly go wrong with tankless water heaters?Martin Thomas from NRC (Natural Resources Canada) shared photos of tankless water heaters hooked up to small electric water heaters used as tempering tanks which provide hot water to fan-coil units for forced-air heating systems.Thomas discussed the problems encountered in these systems: reduced tankless water heater efficiency and perpetually clogged intake filters. Running the tempering loop off the tank bottom at 110°F gives limited opportunity for condensation, but as soon as the water leaving the bottom of the tank exceeds 120°F, you no longer have a condensing water heater. Worse, the warmer water makes the modulating water heater turn down to its lowest setting which, like running a car at 15 miles an hour, further reduces the efficiency of the unit.People in the audience spoke of measuring the efficiency of on-demand water heaters at about 50% when choked down in this fashion. I have certainly witnessed this problem, as well as soot build-up on heat exchangers when burning propane this way. So if you’re running a tankless water heater to maintain heat on a tempering tank for use in a radiant floor, you won’t get any benefit from using a modulating unit and very little from using a condensing unit.Non-modulating units are cheaperThe folks from Bosch were very quick to note that their units are non-modulating (and most of them are non-condensing and sell in big box stores for around $600). Here I was installing the best Rinnai and Quietside units and I would have been better off with the inexpensive Bosch from Home Depot, which would probably have allowed me to size the recirculation pump down to a Taco 006 (instead of the more expensive Taco 009s we’ve been using).Dave Hammond from A.O. Smith spoke about using a fast-acting probe-type thermistor rather than the surface-mounted aquastat typically found on the electric tank water heaters to activate and shut down the recharge pump more quickly, improving system efficiency by reducing recharge time.A casual side comment made me go “Ah ha!” — when someone spoke of wrapping thermistors in electrical tape to “prevent those problems you get when you have metal-to-metal contact with thermistors.” I’ve sure seen the problem, but never realized the solution was so simple.Rolling the tank stings two waysThe clogged intake filter problem seems to be related to debris coming from the anode rod. The problem is exacerbated by tank turbulence (AKA “rolling the tank” — when incoming water creates a current that sends hot water to the bottom of the tank and pushes cold water and sediment to the top). So using a smaller pump with a shorter run-time could reduce tank turbulence and help solve this problem.I spoke about returning the water to the tempering tank using a horizontally mounted perforated “solar” dip tube to diffuse the flow and layer the hottest water into the top of the tank, to press the coldest water from the bottom of the tank to the tankless water heater.The folks from Bosch proposed that plumbers just remove the filter after two months of operation, as their equipment only needs the filter in long enough to keep any teflon tape and pipe dope from jamming the flow. However, the Rinnai and Navien reps at the meeting didn’t jump on that bandwagon.It’s Larry Weingarten’s turnLarry Weingarten from Water Heater Rescue spoke of using a J-shaped cold-water dip tube to push debris up against the drain port, facilitating tank cleaning during maintenance.Combined heat and hot water systems increase tank cycling and accelerate aging, so tank durability is an important part of this discussion. Weingarten stimulated a glorious conversation with graphic photos of tank failures and premature anode-rod decay. He proposed the idea of buying souped-up electrically powered anode rods and avoiding soft aluminum anode rods, and he explained how to tell the difference between magnesium and aluminum anode rods by looking for a bump on the nut (bump good, flatness bad).Larry also sold me on using plastic-lined steel nipples to minimize corrosion in the transition between glass-lined steel tanks and brass or copper fittings. He also made a convincing argument to replace the plastic drain port at the bottom of the tank with a proper 3/4-inch ball valve and to take the time every year to flush the corrosive sediment.The low flow rates of modern WaterSense-listed fixtures has created problems with tankless water heaters that tempering tanks can help address. Larry led a discussion on faucet aerator designs, citing Brycor and Neoperl. You can open up your design choices in faucet selection and just swap out the aerators — the low-flow ones are even helpfully made from green plastic, so the green building rater can verify the swap. We also discussed the pressure drop of different tankless water heaters, noting that the same flow from a Taco 009 pump on a Rinnai would require a Taco 013 in a Navien.A vote for simplificationMartin Holladay pointed out (vigorously) that we were all going around our elbows to get to our thumbs, by designing and fine-tuning these complex systems when we should just give up and admit that we need one appliance to heat domestic hot water and another to heat the home. (My lead plumber, Matt McDonald, points this out to me on a regular basis, much to my annoyance.) He also noted that most of the suggested modifications to tankless water heaters used for space heating — adding a storage tank, a huge intake filter, and a circulating pump, for example — complicated the systems in the effort to restore the advantages of a cheaper tank-style heater.Martin loves wood stoves, solar water heaters, and wall-hung minisplit heat pumps, but he has a point. From my perspective, I just can’t imagine building a passive solar house without a well insulated slab floor, and I can’t imagine skipping the opportunity to put radiant piping in a slab and heating it with a water heater, especially with a solar tie-in.Someone in the audience pointed out that A.O. Smith makes the Vertex condensing tank-type water heater that doesn’t cost much more than a good condensing tankless water heater, and solves many of the problems of marrying a tankless to a tempering tank. The Vertex still hits condensing efficiencies when supplying heat and hot water (or in a radiant floor application). Up to now, condensing tank-type water heaters like Triangle Tube, Polaris, and Phoenix have been much more expensive than condensing tankless water heaters, but it appears that the Vertex at least is competitive with all but the Bosch, which appears to be what we should have been using all along.Problematical standards, againThe discussion then degraded to raging against the test standards by which these devices are rated. Most excoriated was the ASHRAE 124-2007, “Combined Heat and Hot Water Annual Efficiency Test Standard,” which prescribes supply and return temperatures which may not be the temperatures your equipment is designed for, and further requires that all “smart controls” be disabled prior to testing the equipment. The test gives no way to assess the real-world performance of a system with advanced electronic optimization.Slightly less vitriol was directed at the Canadian CSA P.9-2011 standard, and mention was made of a new ASHRAE 206 standard for heat-pump water heaters.I inserted my foot in my mouth by kvetching about how our local HVAC contractors have taken radiant heating away from the plumbers here in North Carolina through activism with their licensing board. My comment fired up the HVAC contractors in the back of the room, who took exception to my complaint. I countered that profiteering by the HVAC industry is slowing the acceptance of minisplit wall-hung heat pumps, because folks who sell ducted heat seek higher markups from systems that are ductless.We agreed to revisit it at the club house, and eventually all ended well. Last year I ticked off the spray foam industry by bringing up the halogenated flame retardant issue; this year I ticked off the HVAC guys. Joe says I’m not off the list so far, so I’ll see who I aggravate next year.The elephant in the roomWe are all expecting the manufacturers who are putting out these tank-top heat pump water heaters to come out with minisplit versions, where the compressor is located outdoors and doesn’t heat your water by cooling the air that has just been heated by your furnace, but instead harvests heat from outside the house. I assume that they are still working out the issues of stripping the heat off the coil efficiently, and I hope that they will get these products on the market soon.At this point the Daikin Altherma, Multi Aqua, Space Pak, Unichiller RC, and Aqua Products reverse-cycle chillers are too multi-purpose and expensive to economically serve the simple need to heat a tank of water with a recharge rate of 60 to 140 kBTUh (the typical range for combined heat and hot water systems). Most of these are designed to provide both modulating heat and cooling to fan-coils in forced-air applications.We need to see a convergence of these technologies, and I think a lot of that innovation will come from the folks at the annual Westford Summer Camp.
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now What are the beliefs you have about some area in your life where you wish your results were different?Who do you know that is already producing the results you want now? What do they believe?If you were to rid yourself of unhealthy infections of the mind, what actions would you take that you are not presently taking? You don’t believe that you can make more money than you are making now. You believe that money is scarce and that it is hard to come by. You hold onto this belief even though you look around and see hundreds of people making more money than you are now.You don’t believe that picking up the phone and calling a stranger can produce appointments. You don’t believe that an old, mature technology like the telephone is better than a new technology like Twitter. You believe this even though you are surrounded by people who are picking up the phone and out-producing you.You don’t believe that you can have a much greater level of success than you have now without some divine intervention. You believe that having what you want for yourself requires that someone taps you on the shoulder, gives you permission, and anoints you as the chosen one. You maintain this belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.Beliefs are viruses. They are infections that spread from one mind to the next. Some people are immune to negative, limiting beliefs. Others have to go through the long, painful process of ridding themselves of the viruses that infect them.If you are willing to believe the truth, you can choose your infections. You can decide what you believe.Right now, there are people who are making more money than you are because they believe they can. They believe they create more value than others. And they believe they deserve to make more money.There are also people who believe that the prospecting methods and the sales activities that you avoid are the most effective methods for winning new business. These people are using the very same methods to produce breakthrough results.When you look around and see people succeeding at a level that you wish to attain, know that they first believed that they could succeed, and then they took massive action in that direction.Other people are producing different and better results than you are now because they believe things that you are unwilling to believe. Most of the beliefs that are preventing you from having what you want are about yourself, who you are, and what you deserve.