Crystals Sell 3Sail Free is back with free cruises for agents

first_img Share Travelweek Group Tags: Crystal Cruises Crystal’s ‘Sell 3,Sail Free’ is back with free cruises for agents Posted bycenter_img Friday, April 7, 2017 LOS ANGELES — Praising travel agents as some of its “greatest ambassadors”, Crystal Cruises is bringing back its ‘Sell 3, Sail Free’ travel agent promotion. Travel pros get the chance to earn complimentary sailings while clients get added savings.Agents selling three suites aboard select November and December 2017 and all 2018 Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises’ Crystal Esprit between now and Dec. 23, 2017 will earn a free sailing for themselves and a guest aboard any 2018 Crystal Esprit voyage.Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises is preparing for its inaugural West Indies season beginning this fall.“Our travel agent partners are some of our greatest ambassadors and there is no better way to reward their efforts than with the opportunity to enjoy the unmatched luxury they tout to their clients,” says Crystal Cruises Chairman, CEO and President, Edie Rodriguez.Billed as a boutique luxury hotel on water, the all-suite, butler-serviced Crystal Esprit is ideally suited to explore exotic harbours throughout the Mediterranean and the West Indies, with just 62 passengers. All-inclusive indulgences range from Michelin star-inspired cuisine and an endless pour of fine wines, champagnes and spirits to a choice of one complimentary Crystal Adventure ashore in every port.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaBooking and occupancy conditions apply. Agents are asked to call 1-800-446-6620 for more information. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

From 707s and 747s back in the day to A330s now TAP

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: TAP Portugal Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — TAP Portugal is anticipating a strong performance for its return to the Canadian market, with new five times weekly Toronto-Lisbon flights starting June 10.It’s been years since TAP flew out of Toronto and the carrier had Montreal flights at one time too. Through the 1970s, 80s and 90s TAP did good business out of Toronto and Montreal to Lisbon on 707s and 747s, at that time serving a sizeable VFR market without much onward traffic. Why did TAP Portugal pull the Canadian flights all those years ago? For the same reason any airline shuts down routes: they stopped being profitable.Now TAP is back and Carlos Paneiro, VP Sales North & Central America says he looks forward to rounding out TAP’s network on this side of the Atlantic with Toronto, the carrier’s fifth gateway in North America and (so far) its only Canadian gateway.The Toronto service will run Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with flights arriving in Toronto at 10 p.m. and departing for Lisbon at 11:55 p.m. TAP is using A330s for the route, and the planes have been retrofitted with upgrades, says Paneiro. There are 244 economy class seats (with a minimum 31” pitch) and 25 lie-flat business class seats.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterPart of the reason TAP pulled its Canadian flights back in the 1990s was because the airline didn’t have a network for onward travel. Now Paneiro says he anticipates that about 60 to 70% of passengers onboard the Toronto flights will be outbound Canadian passengers, and of those about 50% will take advantage of TAP’s network to fly beyond Lisbon to Europe (where TAP has 52 gateways) and Africa (15). TAP also has a growing presence in Brazil, with 10 gateways.The airline’s ‘TAP Portugal Stopover’ program should also generate interest with Canadian passengers, he adds, offering 24, 48 or 72-hour stopovers in Lisbon at no extra cost. Launched last summer in the North American market, it’s been a popular proposition for the U.S. market, with about 40,000 U.S. travellers spending some extra time in Lisbon before heading onto other TAP network destinations. TAP is part of the Star Alliance as well.TAP’s new District Sales Manager for the Canadian market, Liliana Vieira, is already on the road meeting with agents. Vierira has 20-plus years of experience in the travel industry here, mostly with airlines.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoMore information is at flytap.com. Friday, April 7, 2017 From 707s and 747s back in the day, to A330s now: TAP Portugal gets ready for its Toronto returnlast_img read more

Cuba cruise calls flights exempt but new Kempinski blacklisted

first_imgCuba cruise calls, flights exempt but new Kempinski blacklisted << Previous PostNext Post >> Source: The Associated Press Thursday, November 9, 2017 Share Tags: Cuba WASHINGTON — While Canadian travellers are still flocking to Cuba’s beaches in record numbers, American travellers with Cuba on their wish list are even less likely to go now that President Trump’s administration has handed down specific travel, commerce and financial restrictions for the island.Now off-limits to U.S. citizens are dozens of Cuban hotels, shops, tour companies and other businesses included on a lengthy American blacklist of entities that have links to Cuba’s military, intelligence or security services.Blacklisted hotels include the Manzana Kempinski, which opened with great fanfare this year as Cuba’s first to meet the international five-star standard.Most Americans will once again be required to travel as part of heavily regulated, organized tour groups run by U.S. companies, rather than voyaging to Cuba on their own.The stricter rules are the implementation of Trump’s revised Cuba policy announced in Miami back in June. They mark a return to the tougher U.S. stance toward Cuba that existed before former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic relations in 2015.“These measures confirm there is a serious reversal in bilateral relations which has occurred as a result of the decisions taken by the government of President Donald Trump,” said Josefina Vidal, the top Cuban diplomat for North America.However the overall impact on American business with Cuba will be limited. Trade is sparse as it is and many American travellers already stay at hotels not on the no-go list.Cruise ship calls and direct commercial flights between the countries will still be permitted.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterThe rules are designed to steer U.S. economic activity away from Cuba’s military, intelligence and security services, which dominate much of the economy through state-controlled corporations. The goal is to encourage financial support for Cuba’s growing private sector, said senior Trump administration officials, who briefed reporters on a conference call on condition they not be quoted by name.“We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.The new policy maintains several categories of travel to Cuba that are permitted despite the embargo, which carries on decades after the Cold War’s end. Americans can still travel on educational and “people to people” trips as well as visits designed to support the Cuban people by patronizing privately owned small businesses that have popped up across the island in recent years.But those travelling to support Cuba’s people must have a daylong schedule of activities designed to expose them to Cubans and steer dollars toward citizens, such as renting rooms in private homes. Those on organized, “people to people” or educational visits must be accompanied by a representative of the U.S.-based group organizing the trip.Vidal, the Cuban diplomat who was the public face of Cuba’s opening with the United States during the Obama administration, said the policy would harm Cuba’s economy, American citizens and U.S. businesses. The rules were also quickly denounced by travel groups and proponents of closer U.S. ties to the island.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe rules come amid deep strains in the U.S.-Cuba relationship stemming from invisible, unexplained attacks that have harmed more than two dozen U.S. government personnel in Havana since 2016. The attacks led the Trump administration to order most of its diplomats to leave Cuba in September and issue a sweeping travel warning urging Americans to stay away.Officials insisted that the new, tougher rules had no connection to the attacks. The U.S. first complained to Cuba’s government about the attacks in February, four months before Trump announced his broader policy intentions.Some exceptions will accommodate Americans who already plan to visit Cuba. Those who booked “people to people” trips before Trump’s June announcement will be exempt, along with Americans who organized education trips before the rules start on Thursday. Business deals already reached with entities on the prohibited list will be allowed to proceed.It’s unclear how aggressively the U.S. will police the new rules. Officials said they would use information obtained from several U.S. agencies to catch violators, who could be subject to penalties and criminal prosecution.The blacklist bars business with the large military-run corporations that dominate the Cuban economy. These include GAESA and CIMEX, holding companies that control most retail business on the island; Gaviota, the largest tourism company; and Habaguanex, which runs Old Havana.With files from The Associated Presslast_img read more

Insight Luxury Gold added to Virtuoso lineup

first_img Posted by Share Insight, Luxury Gold added to Virtuoso lineup TORONTO — Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold have been accepted into Virtuoso’s portfolio of luxury travel partners, which comprises 1,700+ preferred suppliers in 100 countries.Inclusion in Virtuoso will open up new sales and marketing opportunities to the network’s more than 16,000 luxury travel advisors around the world and their highly desirable clientele, says Ulla Hefel Böhler, CEO of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold. Virtuoso agencies sell more than US$21.2 billion annually.“Virtuoso’s acceptance process is incredibly discerning, so becoming a preferred partner is a true honour, and we are 100% committed to fully supporting the long-term success of our partnership,” said Böhler. “The reputation Virtuoso member advisors have for outstanding dedication to their clients is a perfect fit with our own bespoke approach to service. Now that we’re part of this renowned network, we look forward to offering Virtuoso advisors and their clients special amenities, values and experiences that surpass their expectations.”More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJInsight and Luxury Gold’s acceptance into Virtuoso gives them direct relationships with the world’s leading leisure travel agencies in North and Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, she added.Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold join several other TTC brands that are already part of the Virtuoso network, including African Travel, Inc., Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and several properties that are part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection: The Milestone Hotel and Residences, The Egerton House Hotel, The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, and Ashford Castle.“We are pleased to welcome these two award-winning brands, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, as Virtuoso’s newest luxury travel partners since they offer unforgettable experiences and exceptional service,” said Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “We also share similar principles in making sustainable travel more accessible for travelers and providing purposeful travel experiences to our clients.” Tuesday, January 9, 2018 center_img Tags: Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Virtuoso Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

More Europe more ways to save with Contiki Costsaver in 2019

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> More Europe, more ways to save with Contiki & Costsaver in 2019 Posted by Tags: Contiki, Europe, New Tours Thursday, July 26, 2018 Travelweek Group TORONTO — Contiki and Costsaver, both part of The Travel Corporation, have announced new Europe 2019 programming featuring more itineraries and more ways for clients to save.Contiki’s Europe 2019 Preview program is particularly notable since for the first time in its history, it’s offering 100% guaranteed definite departures on its over 470 European summer adventures in 2019. Moreover, Contiki is also offering the guaranteed best price, whether the price goes up or down at the time of the program’s launch in the fall.Plus, to help clients book in advance, a $100 Free-Time voucher is being offered. The voucher can be used to spend on any Free Time Add-Ons for any bookings made now until Sept. 5, 2018.The $100 voucher can be put towards any Free Time Add-Ons, including ‘Isle of Capri Cruise’, ‘Paragliding in the Alps’, ‘Excursion to Aran Islands’, and ‘Gondola Ride in Venice’.“While guarantees are hard to come by these days, clients can count on a couple things when they book early with Contiki. Chiefly, a guaranteed fun time no matter which European adventure they book on,” said Sheralyn Berry, President of Contiki Holidays Canada. “While millennials are known to book their trips last minute, we encourage agents to use our $100 Free-Time voucher offering as one of the ways to help their young clients save on their travels.”More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsFor more information about Contiki’s 2019 Europe trips, go to www.contiki.com/ca/en/activity/europe-summer-2019-guarantee.Elsewhere, Costsaver has unveiled the new concept ‘First Look’ with its 2019 Europe & Britain Guided Vacations. Giving agents their ‘First Look to Book’, the concept allows clients first access to the trip they want, helping them to secure their 2019 tour at the best possible price. First Look prices start at $143 per day.Similar to Contiki’s best price guarantee, Costsaver’s dynamic pricing assures clients that if the price of their trip goes up they won’t have to pay more, and if they price goes down they’ll be reimbursed the difference.Costsaver 2019 itineraries in Europe include the 10-day ‘Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina’, the eight-day ‘Irish Wonder’, and the seven-day ‘Jewels of Italy’. To view the complete Costsaver ‘First Look’ 2019 Europe & Britain lineup, go to https://www.costsavertour.com/en-ca/deals/first-look-2019.last_img read more

The Jícaro Artist

first_imgHis hand is a tapestry of scars, evidence of how the tool sometimes slips. He makes designs on just half of the fruit, and he cuts them apart only when he has finished chiseling the designs.The innards have an odd chemical smell, but not a bad taste. The fruit is filled with a green gel that needs to be scraped out, which can be difficult. Androvetto invented a process for soaking the fruit in water to simplify the scraping, and he also created special tools to aid in the process. Once scraped and cleaned, the outer shell dries, becoming hard and resilient.Besides the artistic value of the pieces, they are also used to make canteens, bowls, cups and lamps. The tradition comes from the Chorotega Indians, who lived in Guanacaste hundreds of years ago, Androvetto explains. Androvetto’s mentor, Xavier, taught him the trade, but “we have different kinds of styles,” Androvetto says. “My style is often more traditional, like masks or faces, like pre-Columbian art, the art that comes from the Indians.” Indeed, his style is often called primitive.Making the art supports Androvetto during tourist season, he says, and other members of his family live the same way. His mother makes ceramics, and his aunt works in several mediums. His uncle, Indio, whom he spends winters with in Sámara, carves pendants from coral and bone, often in the shape of traditional Indian faces. “In the past, I never knew I have the art in my blood,” Androvetto says. He and his uncle Indio sell art on the beach and in restaurants in Sámara for $10-$30 a piece, but those interested may order it at joseandrovetto@hotmail.com. The work is in high demand and goes fast. Androvetto is grateful for that, and for the new friends he has made through art: “The jícaro gave me the opportunity to meet people from other countries, Germany, Switzerland, U.S., Italy, too.” Facebook Comments No related posts. These jícaro gourds can be canteens, bowls, cups and lamps. Courtesy of Elisabeth Janoscenter_img From the print editionBy Elisabeth Janos | Special to The Tico TimesThis is how Leonardo Androvetto tells the story of how he began making gourds from the jícaro (calabash) tree into art: “My friend said he would teach me if I wanted to learn. I bought tools in San José. I didn’t think I’d like it. But when I start, I like so much.”That was just three years ago, and now Androvetto, 25, is making a living off of his creations. He lives in San José most of the year, but winters in Playa Sámara, where his uncle also works as an artist. To build his art, Androvetto first takes the large green balls, which are sometimes oval shaped, from the jícaro tree. With a sharp tool, he makes a sketch. With another tool he gouges out his design. The process takes about two or three hours, depending on the size of the fruit. “Each gouge is very hard on the hands, need to be so quiet, need to concentrate on the work,” he says. last_img read more

Costa Rica leads innovation ranking in Latin America

first_imgGlobal Innovation Index Scores for Central America | Create infographics Costa Rica is the most innovative country in Latin America, ranking 39th of 142 countries surveyed on theGlobal Innovation Index (GII) 2013.The country climbed from the 60th position in 2012, surpassing Chile as regional leader. Costa Rica also was one of three countries that climbed more positions in this year’s ranking, released Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.The GII ranking is published every year by the European Institute of Business Administration, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organization.According to the report, Costa Rica’s better ranking this year is due to improvements in infrastructure, human capital, public institutions and business “sophistication,” the report said. The country also obtained a better score in the production of knowledge and technology.President Laura Chinchilla on Tuesday said Costa Rica’s ranking “is a recognition of the efforts the country has made in improving issues of economic dynamism and business climate.”In the region, Panama, Guatemala and El Salvador ranked 86th, 87th and 88th respectively. Belize placed 102nd, Honduras ranked 107th, and Nicaragua came in at 115th.The Global Innovation Index examines economies in 142 countries using 84 indicators in order to estimate the relationship between innovation capabilities and measurable results. Indicators include quality of its best universities, the availability of micro-financing and of venture capital.Globally, the index is led by Switzerland, followed by Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States.Tico Times reporter Zachary Dyer contributed to this story. Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rican taxi drivers languageschool workers arrested in fake English diploma scam

first_imgAgents of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) on Monday raided a private English-language school in the province of Alajuela accused of issuing fake diplomas to taxi drivers who provide transport services at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José.During the raid, OIJ officers arrested 12 cab drivers and four employees of the language school.In order to obtain permits to work at the airport, Costa Rica’s Public Transportation Council (CTP) requires taxi drivers to obtain certificates from accredited English-language schools that certify they speak the language at a conversational level. According to the OIJ, the targeted school belongs to a foreign owner who allegedly sold diplomas for up to $320 each.The detained taxi drivers allegedly received their certificates without attending a single lesson.The OIJ also raided CTP facilities in San José to confiscate all documents related to 100 permits for transport services at the airport that the agency issued last week.Those permits were issued after last July, when the Public Services Regulatory Authority cancelled a concession granted to private cab company Taxis Unidos, following an investigation into taxis that did not use mandatory taximeters to establish trip rates. Facebook Comments Related posts:Taxi fares to increase this month Striking taxi drivers block streets near Casa Presidencial Rates going up for Costa Rica taxis Taxis drivers block capital roads to demand crackdown on ‘piratas’last_img read more

VIDEO Harlem Globetrotter nearly killed in Honduras … when backboard collapses during

first_imgHonduras, as it tries to curb the highest homicide rate in the world, faces its fair share of threatening circumstances. But death by backboard had probably never seemed like a possibility until last Thursday. Harlem Globetrotter William “Bill” Bullard almost suffered that fate at an event in Tegucigalpa. The renowned U.S. exhibition team was carrying out one of its trademark, theatrical slam dunks when the backboard support gave way during Bullard’s high-flying dunk. No related posts. Bullard hung on to the rim as the structure crashed down on top of him, and shattered glass across the court. The backboard popped him in the forehead, leaving a bloody gash. But besides that Bullard appeared unharmed. The Honduran periodical El Heraldo reported that Bullard remained motionless for a few minutes on the court while teammates and officials attended to him. The medical staff brought out a stretcher, but Bullard never needed it.Fortunately, he seemed to be a good sport about the incident. Bullard gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he walked off the court with a towel covering the wound on his head. Honduran basketball fans gave him an admiring ovation. After getting bandaged up, Bullard returned to salute the crowd. He greeted fans in their stands and signed autographs. Meanwhile, without a replacement hoop, the Globetrotters completed their act with a half-court game on the one basket still standing.The Globetrotters were in Honduras as part of a Central America tour. They wrapped up the leg with games in Costa Rica and El Salvador over the weekend.Matt Levin is a correspondent for The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

MADC exhibit Over View showcases 47 videographers from 8 countries

first_imgAn anonymous man talks about loneliness. We can hear his voice during a crackly telephone interview. There are long pauses between sentences, but we don’t see the person speaking. Instead, we see landscapes of a city at night. The high rises are colorless and impersonal, and only rows of lit windows hint at human life. With each new shot, we zoom in on these empty buildings. We see a corridor, followed by a conference room. There are no decorations. The illumination is dull fluorescent.“’Together but alone’ is very typical in a city the size of Rotterdam,” says the anonymous speaker.Created by Holland-born artist Jasper Bruijns, the video is called “Welterusten,” Dutch for “Good night.” It is a typical sample from “Over View,” the new video installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC), which opened last week. “Over View” is a touring exhibit that features five Costa Rican videographers. This is good for the home team, and it’s exciting to see creative Costa Ricans featured prominently, but the exhibit’s real achievement is its diversity: “Over View” represents 47 artists from eight countries.Putting together such an exhibit may seem silly in the era of YouTube. Why travel all the way to downtown San José to see a bunch of random short videos when you can watch pretty much anything online? What makes these particular segments so special that they couldn’t appear on one of Vimeo’s “virtual film festivals”?There are two reasons to visit “Over View” – one a good reason, the other a great one. The good reason is that eight different curators have selected which videos to present. Each curator represents a different country, such as Egypt, China, or Australia. You could argue that an experienced curator knows exactly what types of videos to string together and project. Then again, you could also argue that an experienced curator is no better equipped to make this selection than any second-year film student with good taste. Either way, the lineup is at least handpicked by a human, and not “recommended” by an Internet algorithm.The great reason is the venue itself: The second floor of the MADC gallery is rarely open to the public, and the room is spacious and private, like a secret warehouse. MADC is rarely busy, but this little corner of the facility is particularly quiet. There are both flat-screen televisions and projectors. You can watch any film silently, or headphones are provided for listening. You can sit on the bench or stand. The room has become its own world, designed specifically for viewing videos. The feeling is completely different from, say, watching online videos on your iPad while sitting on an airplane.Since each segment is short, you can move from one TV to another with ease, sampling works from all over the world. Take “Frères de Rue” (“Street Brothers”), Hachim M. Sacko’s dramatic film from Mali about a frustrated bootblack. The youth is forlorn, because he’s desperately poor and may go hungry. The film is the cinematic equivalent of flash fiction – we meet some characters, we learn their woes, and then a wise man offers a solution. It’s a full narrative condensed into a few minutes.In stark contrast, “Elle” (“She”) is an even briefer film with no narrative at all: A camera revolves slowly, capturing the skyline of a dense modern city. A female voice says “No” and “Here” over and over, until the lens finally reveals the speaker, a young woman leaning against a wall. There isn’t much to it. The film plays like a joke.Alone, the “Elle” doesn’t have much to say, and the visual gag will probably earn only a smirk from the viewer. But if you are intrigued by an increasingly cosmopolitan, globalized world, there is something inspiring about seeing a Brazilian artist named Wagner Morales direct a film in French.MADC is currently showing several exhibits at once, and most of its installations are of the large-scale, abstract variety that MADC is known for. They are all worth seeing, as much as any other MADC exhibit is worth seeing, but “Over View” particularly merits a visit. While most people will not watch the film cycles in their entirety, the total run-time is 240 minutes, which means you could view these shorts for four hours straight without repeating a single frame.Art films don’t appeal to everybody, of course. But if you want to try a smorgasbord of different cinematic styles, “Over View” sure beats channel-surfing.Exhibit continues through June 11 at MADC, CENAC building, downtown San José. ₡1,500 ($3). Info: MADC website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates 20 years of provocative exhibition Art exhibit shows intersection of printed money, history, and nationalism Photo exhibit documents Costa Rican diversity Artist Justin Griffin-Zúñiga receives first solo show in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Costa Ricas Tobías Bolaños International Airport to reopen nighttime service

first_imgStarting on Dec. 1, Costa Rica’sTobías Bolaños International Airport in Pavas, west of San José, will operate from 6-9 p.m. after night hours were suspended in October.As a cost-cutting measure, the terminal had been closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., which helped save ₡180 million ($334,000) a year, the Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) reported.The reopening will not affect the agency’s budget because pilots will not be assisted by airport flight operators whose schedules at the control tower end at 6 p.m. Instead, pilots will be able to take off and land with the assistance of operators from the Public Security Ministry’s Air Surveillance Service, who currently work at the terminal year-round, the DGAC reported in a news release Monday.Ministry staff will assist pilots and will be responsible for operating the runway’s lighting system, the DGAC stated. “Operators will use a radio frequency and procedures that were successfully tested last week,” the agency said.The DGAC stated that the move aims to promote Costa Rica’s tourism sector. Facebook Comments Related posts:Weekend tourism fair hopes to draw local tourists with special travel deals Costa Rica tourism minister sees no threat from Cuba, Nicaragua Upbeat outlook for Costa Rica tourism, as visitors, revenue up in 2014 Costa Rica tourism sets new record with 2.6 million visitors in 2015last_img read more

Study Seeks 100 Irish Households for Indoor Air Quality Study

first_imgResearchers from the School of Physics at NUI Galway are seeking to recruit 100 households to measure indoor environmental air quality within Irish homes that have been built to be highly energy efficient, by deploying remote sensors within the homes.In Ireland, homes are currently being built to a higher energy efficiency standard to reduce the country’s climate change impact, which can also contribute to reducing household heating costs. This study will evaluate and assess the indoor environment of these homes, to ensure these energy efficient measures are not adversely impacting upon the indoor air quality.The research team, led by Dr Miriam Byrne and Dr James McGrath in NUI Galway’s School of Physics have initiated the project, which will investigate homes that have the highest energy efficiency standard, an ‘A’ Building Energy Rating (BER) certification. The research team will use a remote sensor and continuously monitor air quality within the home for 18 months.The study will measure the following pollutants:– Volatile Organic Compounds– Radon– Thermal comfort parameters (Temperature, Humidity and Pressure)– Carbon DioxideVolatile organic compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids such as paint, furniture polish, soap, varnishes, aerosol sprays and cleaning products. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which has no taste, colour or smell and is regulated in Ireland by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Radiological Protection. The thermal comfort assessment measurements will evaluate people’s subjective comfort (how warm or how cold they feel) within their homes. The carbon dioxide measurements are taken to assess ventilation systems effectiveness.Commenting on the study, Principal Investigator, Dr Miriam Byrne, lecturer in the School of Physics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to have received SEAI funding for this important project. There is a delicate balance to be struck between ensuring that a home is energy efficient, and also providing enough ventilation to guarantee acceptable indoor air quality. The use of low-cost sensors that wirelessly transmit data will allow us to collect detailed air quality and thermal data over a much longer period than has previously been possible.”For eligible participants who would participate in the study, a researcher will come to their home to install remote sensors (similar to a smoke detector in size) in four rooms in the home; the kitchen, living room, master bedroom and bathroom, and they will access information on the four pollutants within the home for 18 months through remote monitoring. Participants will also be asked to fill in a contextual information sheet, with questions on their home, such as heating and ventilation, as well as a thermal comfort survey and activity diary, activities such as cleaning and cooking, three times for the duration of this project.Benefits to participating in this study are that all participants will receive an overview of the indoor air quality assessment within their home and all participants will keep the sensors that are provided during the study so that they can continue to measure pollutants within their homes after the study is completed. In addition, participants will assist research in NUI Galway and contribute to indoor air environment science.The VALIDate project is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).For more information and to participate in the study contact, Dr James McGrath, School of Physics, NUI Galway at james.a.mcgrath@nuigalway.ie and 091 493437.To read more about the VALIDate project, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/validatelast_img read more