Blog : Technology

CAN NEW INNOVATIONS IN ULTRA-LOW ENERGY HOUSING TACKLE FUEL POVERTY?

CAN NEW INNOVATIONS IN ULTRA-LOW ENERGY HOUSING TACKLE FUEL POVERTY?

This is the question being addressed at the inaugural Passive House Association of Ireland Conference, taking place in Belfast on Friday 10th May. The conference, supported by The Royal Society of Ulster Architects and Kingspan Insulation, has been developed to debate, challenge and address how the industry in NI needs to move forward and embrace new ways of tackling fuel poverty.

The 2016 Northern Ireland House Condition survey showed that 22% of households were living in fuel poverty in Northern Ireland; the private rented sector is the worst affected by fuel poverty with most recent figures at 26.3%; and in 2017-18 there were 1,500 excess winter deaths with 30% attributable to living in a cold home. In addition, 68% of households in Northern Ireland are reliant on home heating oil; an unregulated fuel in terms of price and customer protection.

Panellists and attendees will be privy to the latest research and development in the field, and there will be the opportunity for much lively conversation – with focus given to retrofit and new build housing.

The conference will have an esteemed panel of industry experts leading the discussions which includes: Director of Fuel Poverty Coalition NI, Pat Austin; County Architect for Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown County Council, Andrée Dargan; Dr. Shane Colclough from University of Ulster; Green Party NI Leader, Claire Bailey; Caroline Best Project Architect at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; Managing Director of Mosart & Passive House Academy, Tomas O’Leary; and Chair of PHAB Group and GP Developments, Garrett Quinn.

The conference keynote speaker will be the Housing Development Manager for Exeter City Council, Emma Osmundsen who will be discussing her council’s policy and successes in social housing by implementing low energy, healthy and climate resilient buildings.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Paul McAlister, Chairman of the PHAI, said, “This is a discussion which is long overdue, and we are delighted with the positive response from across the political and civic spectrum to our first ever conference tackling this issue.

“Fuel poverty affects thousands of households in Northern Ireland and decisive action is needed. The main issue is that there is a lack of understanding of the benefits of low energy housing and a perception that it is more costly to implement this approach; which is not correct. We believe that this conference marks an important first step in addressing the problem, and we hope that it will motivate our business and community leaders to embrace and be more open to recognising the potential of ultra-low energy housing.”

Tickets for the conference are currently available via http://bit.ly/PHAIBelConf2019 priced at £55pp general admission and £45pp for PHAI members.

ENDS

GLOBAL TECH COMPANY OLIGHT CHOOSES BELFAST AS ITS UK HEAD OFFICE BASE

GLOBAL TECH COMPANY OLIGHT CHOOSES BELFAST AS ITS UK HEAD OFFICE BASE

Global technology lighting company Olight, has officially launched its aircraft aluminium torch range into the UK, choosing Belfast as its operational base. Investing over £1.5 million into the new merchandising hub and creating five local jobs with more planned, Olight is aiming to generate over £2 million in the next year, in addition to its online Amazon sales.

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£150M FOR BROADBAND MUST ATTRACT THE MAXIMUM MARKET INVESTMENT IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

£150M FOR BROADBAND MUST ATTRACT THE MAXIMUM MARKET INVESTMENT IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

CEO of Belfast based B4B Group, Dominic Kearns, has said the Government must use the £150m agreed between the Conservative government and the DUP in their confidence and supply deal, to ensure the correct investment environment is created to see the maximum benefit for our economy and competitiveness as a region.

“We must insure that we create an environment that attracts the most market investment possible for the region. The broadband infrastructure market is changing so much so that investors are switching focus back to the sector in the hope of returns in the longer term.

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PEEKABOO, INSTAGRAM CAN SEE YOU!

PEEKABOO, INSTAGRAM CAN SEE YOU!

We gauged public opinion on the recent revelation that Instagram now allows users to see when their friends were last active. Find out what our followers thought of this new feature.

Instagram stayed rather quiet over the weekend, as they gently rolled out a new update which focuses on increased visibility of users. With new social media platforms popping up fast – you would wonder how much more can be added to increase visibility even further?

Well Instagram has found a way – presenting the ‘Last Active’ feature.

Instagram now allows your friends and followers to track when you last used Instagram. When sending stories or direct messages, you’ll notice that beside their username, in grey writing you can now see when they were last active – the times are very precise, ranging from “active now”, “active 32 minutes ago” to “active yesterday”.

This won’t be a ground-breaking update for you if you use Facebook messenger or Whatsapp, as you should be used to that by now. However, this adds Instagram to the list of places where other people can monitor your activity heavily.

If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling Instagram as a de-stressor throughout the day, but don’t quite have the brain power to respond to your messages, we have good news. You can deactivate this feature easily to ensure that others (like your boss) can’t track your usage and send those nagging “Get back to work” or “I know you’re online…?” messages.

Step 1: Open your settings via the three little dots in the top right-hand corner

Step 2: Scroll down to “Show Activity Status”

Step 3: Click on the toggle to ensure that you have freedom to scroll, without feeling obligated to respond to messages immediately.

Voila! – you’re now free to live a semi-private life through Instagram again – sharing only what you choose to share, which likely doesn’t include your low-key addiction to scrolling.

 

How do you feel about Instagram’s new updates?

Instagram Poll

We asked our Instagram followers if they were aware of this new update, and 50% of our followers had no idea that Instagram was sharing their activity with others. Of those who had already heard about the update, 100%* of them had found out via friends/websites or blogs – no one found out through Instagram’s own news or social media pages.

This introduces the argument that new features like this one should be heavily advertised

to ensure users are aware of changes. It also poses the idea that new features like this one should automatically be inactive when updated, and Instagram should prompt us to turn it on if we wish.

We asked our followers if they would have chosen to share their visibility had they had the

choice; 69% of people voted asking for more space, disagreeing with this new feature. Researching further the 39% of followers who didn’t mind sharing their visibility, we found that this correlated with a higher follower count, as well as those accounts using Instagram as a business or blogger.

With more updates to come in 2018, we found this insight very interesting. Instagram seems to be verging towards more of a marketing platform – allowing for marketers, brands and businesses to seamlessly merge onto users feeds without much evidence. This is good news for businesses, but could increase the scepticism for casual users who enjoy Instagram as an escape from the marketing stance that Facebook displays.

Stay tuned for future Instagram advances and find out what they could mean for you and your business.

*This figure was correct as of 3pm 23/01/2018

NIRUNNING SETS THE PACE WITH HELIOS IT

NIRUNNING SETS THE PACE WITH HELIOS IT

NiRunning have teamed up with local IT support & services company, Helios IT to take their rapidly growing online community to the next level.

Helios IT, who provide IT support and services for businesses throughout Northern Ireland have already sponsored the redevelopment of the NiRunning website, and will be working with NiRunning to supply them with the latest hardware and cloud services (Office 365), and to offer ongoing IT support to the business.

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NTD INSTALL LATEST FACIAL RECOGNITION SYSTEM AT MASH DIRECT

NTD INSTALL LATEST FACIAL RECOGNITION SYSTEM AT MASH DIRECT

North Time & Data Ltd, (NTD) specialist suppliers of state-of-the-art time management systems for workforce monitoring, has installed the latest in their line of biometric facial recognition terminals for one of Northern Ireland’s leading FMCG manufacturers.

NTD was tasked by Mash Direct to implement a workforce management system to effectively monitor employee attendance and track working hours.

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