Residents of Block 42, a developing community in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), have voiced numerous concerns regarding land access and ownership with Indigenous Peoples Affairs Minister, Sydney Allicock.Some of the residents along with Minister Allicock at the meetingIssues such as the occupation of lands and its allocation as well as concerns regarding land titles were raised with the Minister during a recent visit to the Speightland community situated at Mackenzie, Linden.Residents of Block 42, who attended the meeting, said they were fearful that the untitled lands that they occupy might be taken away by persons as was the case in the past.Issues regarding land for both housing and commercial purposes are major concerns within the region and according to officials, this is majorly due to National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) having ownership of the land.During the meeting, Haniff Emamudin, a resident, stated, “Minister, this land thing, we’re just asking if you could just look into it…where I am living, I’m on a part of NICIL land and I’m not looking that somebody would come now and say, ‘well listen my great grandfather used to occupy this land here fifty years ago and you just came here the other day’. I believe people who develop this land and is living there with their families, making a living and develop this land …at least they should get some rights. Not a man who was [here] fifty years ago, as they say, ‘a mark land’”, the resident noted.The resident noted that he has put a lot of labour into the plot of land he is currently occupying and it would be unreasonable if someone turns up to inform him that their relatives are the owners.“This has happened in the past, that people come up with a whole map of 50 or 60 years back and a man who put his soul out there [on the land] they had a big problem”, he outlined.Another resident noted that 61 plots of land in the community have already been surveyed but noted that people are coming into the community and selling them.“People coming in from all sides now and they claiming lands which is not dem own”, the resident alleged.“I’ve been pushing a long time to get title for me land”, another resident noted.In response, the Minister noted that checks have to be made with NICIL, which he explained would take some time. He further encouraged residents to check for records related to land before laying their foundations.He also alluded that an Inquiry, which was expected to deal with such issues across the country, had been shut down years ago.“That is why the President, in 2015, recognised the difficulty with lands in Guyana in general and ordered that there be a Commission of Inquiry into all lands. That process started and it had a period of time it was stopped. For us, as Indigenous Peoples, we had a number of groups including the National Toshao’s Council saying they didn’t want it and put it to a halt. And that is now back to haunt us because this could have been something in progress. The idea was to sort out all these land issues and let everybody be treated equally, fairly”, the Minister related.The outcome, he noted, is that presently there are communities fighting amongst themselves as it relates to land and the issue is difficult to sort it out.Nevertheless, the Minister said the Region 10 Democratic Council and Linden Mayor and Town Council have a lot of work to do as it relates to sorting out the lands and their titles.“As somebody was saying, there’s confusion in the lands here. You don’t know where your boundaries [are] and all of that. These need to be sorted out and it’s not easy. So I understand what the people are saying. It is for us to settle it, how do we go about this”, the Minister said.He also recalled situations where lands have been sold multiple times.Minister Allicock believes that one day, the situation will be sorted out and is optimistic that residents and Government have to work in resolving these issues. For the developing community of Block 42, he said it is slowly evolving with improvements in water, lighting and roads.
A virtual family in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is helping scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrate that an ordinary-looking home can more than offset its energy usage.The home generated a surplus 491 kilowatt hours of energy in its first year of operation, according to a report on the agency’s Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility released earlier this month. That savings, which exceeded expectations, amounts to more than half of what the average American household uses in a month.There are other net-zero projects around the country, says A. Hunter Fanney, chief of NIST’s Energy and Environment Division, but NIST’s house is unique in achieving net-zero energy consumption without skimping on the comforts of a regular home. The home touts a long list of energy-saving technologies and design features, from geothermal heat pumps to smart energy zones that concentrate power only where it’s needed. With the exception of the five solar panels on the roof—a large one which converts solar power into electricity and four smaller panels that convert solar into heat energy—the home looks indistinguishable from what you might find in any comfortable neighborhood in the Gaithersburg area.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“It was important to us that the house looked appealing,” Fanney said. “We’d like to see the general public move towards net-zero energy homes, and we think the way to do that is to show people they can have a house similar to what they’ve always had and yet still have a net-zero energy bill.”The house may have decent curb appeal, but its extra cost is nothing to scoff at. “The cost difference between a regular home and this one is about $160,000,” Fanney said. Fanney estimates it would take the virtual family 28 years to earn back the extra cost of their zero-energy home through energy savings alone.That’s a daunting prospect for those in the market for a net-zero home. David Roberts, a senior engineer at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, believes the average homeowner looking for significant savings on their energy bill would do better by reducing the home’s energy requirements instead of producing energy in-house.The most cost-effective way, he says, is to increase insulation in the walls and roof of a home and to reduce air leakage. Going a step further by implementing energy-efficient appliances will cost a bit more.“A house can get pretty close to net-zero with better insulation and appliances alone,” Fanney says. But it’s the renewable energy solutions—the last bastions to net-zero—that take the biggest bite out of your wallet.NIST’s Net-Zero facility cost $2.5 million to build, with much of the expense going to the equipment and monitoring devices needed to make the house a functional laboratory. But price was not a key factor in the experiment, Fanney says. “One of the purposes of the house’s first year is to demonstrate that net-zero is even possible for an ordinary-looking home, and we’ve shown that.”With the initial success under its belt, NIST plans to turn the home into a testbed to develop performance metrics for companies who manufacture energy-efficient appliances. The energy ratings on current appliances are based on ideal laboratory conditions, Fanney says, far removed from the reality of how an appliance functions in a real house. NIST aims to take technologies from energy-efficient appliances and test them in the more realistic environment of the Net-Zero home.Homeowners looking for a cost-effective way to lower their energy bill can look to more energy-efficient systems. But Fanney thinks the future lies in full net-zero energy consumption. “It’s good to demonstrate efficiency, but I think net-zero should be the ultimate goal,” he says.