High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 1

first_imgI come from a family of non-conformists. My dad was the product of a line of labor shit-disturbers of the first order; my mom came from milder stock but was herself a civic activist of unparalleled backbone. I spent my childhood marching for racial equality, farm worker rights, and peace in Vietnam. So perhaps it’s inevitable that I have come to view myself as a green building revolutionary.In fact, I believe that YOU are a revolutionary. Why? Because building green is all about effecting change – replacing the “normal” way things are done with a far better way. It’s about combating conventional thinking and apathy – and often moneyed interests – to bring about results that are better for the people and the planet. In a revolution, everyone plays an important part. You can be heaving the battering ram at the gates, scaling the ramparts, tunneling under, printing broadsheets, or fomenting dissent inside the establishment – in short, operating wherever and however you are most comfortable and most effective. Not all revolutionaries are loud and aggressive; many are subtle and quietly persuasive. Not all have access to seats of power; many work at the grass-roots level. The right mindset to produce high-performance homesNote that I view technologies as a “maybe” solution. I believe that much of what we have to do to reliably produce high-performance and/or net-zero energy homes resides outside the realm of technology.So:1. Technology is our least powerful lever in the change toolkit.2. We don’t necessarily need it to achieve our green building goals.This is unquestionably revolutionary talk, because virtually every green building event you’ll attend focuses on stuff – the goods, the gizmos, the glam … i.e., technologies. There is very little focus on mindset (that sounds downright woo-woo, doesn’t it?) or process (a little less so, but still squishy, eh?), and only a bit on tools (we do like tools, yessir, especially techie ones).Contrarian that I am, I’ve been focusing heavily lately on the top three levels of this hierarchy, where I have complete conviction that our energies are best spent. I’ll develop this train of thought in several more blogs over the next few months. Stay tuned, and break out your green armbands! We’re all agents for changeWhether you willingly don the mantle of revolutionary or not, I think it’s important for each of us who works in green building to explicitly recognize our role as an agent for change. It’s much too hard to bring about change when you don’t face head on the reality that that’s what you’re trying to do – like trying to navigate to a town whose name you do not know. RELATED ARTICLES High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 2High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 3High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 4High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 5 A change toolkitBut all are working for change. And so I’ve devised what I refer to as the change toolkit. It’s based originally on Donella Meadows’s brilliant 2005 essay, “Places to Intervene in a System.” Meadows identified a hierarchy of nine places to intervene in a system with the aim of creating change. Bill Reed, in turn, developed his own hierarchy of change inspired by Donella’s work. I find Bill’s hierarchy easy to remember and I use it on a day-to-day basis. Here’s the gist of it – four levels, in increasing order of effectiveness for creating change:1. Technologies2. Tools3. Processes4. MindsetI’ve used Bill’s 4-stage hierarchy as the basis for my change toolkit, in it identifying a number of players and types of change that may be appropriate at each level. One version of my toolkit is shown in the figure.last_img read more

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One Number That Shows The Reason For Microsoft’s Upheaval

first_imgRelated Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Tags:#Apple#Google#Internet Explorer#Microsoft center_img brian proffitt In an effort to give us a glimpse into how well they are transitioning from a software company to “a devices and services company,” Microsoft revealed a By the Numbers site yesterday. But one fact may have revealed a little too much information from Microsoft: the desktop browser share for Internet Explorer.The tile is crystal clear: the Internet Explorer icon with the words 56.5 percent. Click the tile and it opens to reveal “Internet Explorer’s usage share was over 56 percent worldwide in July 2013.”That may sound great, but if you follow the browser market at all, then your first reaction might echo mine: only 56.5%?There was a time, after all, that Internet Explorer once held a far greater market share, with 78.42% of the market share in January 2008, according to the same source Microsoft cited on its Numbers page, Net Market Share. In those days, it was mostly IE vs. Mozilla Firefox vs. Opera. But five years ago next month, Chrome entered the game, and slowly but surely took market share away from IE and the other browsers.To its credit, this is not the worst IE’s market share has been—to date, that low mark was hit in December 2011, when IE browser share was 51.87%, Chrome 19.11% and Firefox 21.83%.The latest full month figures for July 2013 reveal a slightly better leadership position for IE, which has slowly climbed to 56.61%, with Firefox down to 18.29% and Chrome at 17.76%. Looking at the trend over time, it does indeed appear that IE has recaptured some share away from Chrome and Firefox, with Safari also picking up some growth on the other side as well.No one can take away from Microsoft that it has been a market leader for browsers since practically day one of its existence, and as such, you can’t knock 56% of the desktop market share too much.But this is desktop market share, which doesn’t reflect how Microsoft is doing on the fastest-growing platform sector: mobile. And there, if you poke around the Net Market Share site a little more, things are far less pretty.Here, Microsoft is barely on the map of browsers, hanging around at the 1.88% share mark for July. In this world, Safari is the clear winner with 58.75% share, Android browser at 20.59%, Opera Mini with 9.42% and Chrome at 4.44%.Those are numbers that don’t bode well for a Microsoft that’s trying to remake itself as devices and services company. Browsers, are very much the gateway software into the services that companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft provide. Sure, you can access Google services with Safari, and Apple cloud services with Chrome, but generally the trends for services tend to follow the browser, especially for mobile users who just want all their apps to live harmoniously. In that light, this means that Apple services benefit from 58.75% of the market and Google services get 25.03% of browser share, since Android Browser and Chrome will point to Google.So while Microsoft is still dominant in the desktop sector for its browser, that is a sector that is showing strong evidence of contraction, or at the very least slowing sales. In the sector that is exploding—mobile—Microsoft is barely a blip as a browser presence.There are ways to fix this, of course, and we are seeing it now: Microsoft has built apps that will tie directly into their services like SkyDrive (iOS, Android) and Office 365 (iOS, Android). These apps aren’t completely polished, but they will have to be improved soon.Microsoft may also end up building web services that are far more standards compliant than they ever have in the past.We are witnessing a huge metamorphosis in action: Microsoft was long the dominant player on the dominant platform, and now that is no longer the case in any sense of the word. So, they embrace mobile, with their own platform and re-tooled services for all devices. They embrace cloud with Windows Azure, trying to capture disenfranchised IT shops before they shift to Linux or Solaris in the cloud. They (re)embrace embedded, this time with an eye on making an impact in the nascent Internet of Things.This is time of great change for Microsoft as it strains to hang on to an enterprise and consumer market that is moving out from under them every day. The numbers don’t lie. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…last_img read more

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