Integrated into the 2011 Federal Budget, the government announced yesterday a one-year extension to the Eco-Energy Retrofit program for home owners. If you live in a drafty old house and feel like you are paying too much for your heating and cooling, the program can help offset the costs of upgrading building insulation, weather stopping, doors and windows. However before any of the renovations start, make sure that a qualified engineer of energy auditor tests your home in its current state to create a benchmark reading for comparison. If the drywall is already ripped off, you will not be able to conduct the test, and thereby become ineligible for the program. For additional information, refer to Natural Resources Canada's website. For information and suggestions on how to improve the energy performance of your home, contact KHA Design.
The Ontario Power Authority is offering up to $650 worth of incentives for homeowners to replace their existing furnace and/or air conditioning unit with new, Energy Star certified heating or cooling systems. According to the Power Authority, up to 60% of a typical home's electricity bill is devoted to heating and cooling. With the continual rise in energy costs and another hot, humid summer expected for Ontario, installing a new system can help reduce utility bills and the home's draw on our shared natural resources. The offer is valid only in Ontario between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. For details, refer to the Ontario Power Authority's website.
Aging-in-place is a hot topic these days. As baby boomers enter retirement, the government is bracing itself for the impending “gray wave” of elderly adults who will need access to specialized health care services and accommodation at the same time. Ideally, an individual will stay in their own house or condo as long as possible. There are many modifications – both permanent and temporary – that can be made to a home to achieve this. As there are many different considerations, this topic will be broken down into different parts, the first being dedicated to bathrooms.
Despite everyone's best attempts to age gracefully, the process is often accompanied by slowly diminishing capacities such as vision, hearing, balance, flexibility and strength. Washrooms that were once considered luxurious can become hazardous, but with simple modifications can be made safer and easier to use. A person can spend thousands of dollars retrofitting a washroom with permanent components. However; if on a budget, many temporary items can be rented, or found on Craigslist, Kijiji or other classified ad websites. Below is a list of considerations that incorporates both permanent and temporary measures that can make a bathroom more accommodating.
Kate Harrison is a licensed architect and is the principal of KHA.