A wind storm in November 2014 cut power to a home just up the street from my house. Power outages and other utility disruptions are becoming more and more common from a variety of causes. Source: CBC News.
When discussing disaster preparedness, people often associate the subject with the survivalist movement. Although some individuals take disaster preparedness to the extreme in anticipation of a zombie invasion or the next global pandemic, there are more realistic scenarios such as extreme weather events for which all home owners should be ready.
In 2013 my neighbourhood in Toronto lost power for over 48 hours twice in the space of six months. The first was in July after a freak rainstorm dropped more rain in two hours than anticipated in two months on the City. Transit was incapacitated, sewers overwhelmed and electrical substations submerged. After walking two hours to get home from the center of the City I was greeted by a fridge and freezer full of food that would spoil despite our best efforts and all-meat dinners. Although the air-conditioning was out, we were still able to stay in our home overnight but we were without hot water as our power-vented water heater could not run its fan.
We have a project currently under construction - a small addition onto an existing house with a full gut and renovation to the existing house and structure. We are very excited to see the progress of the project. The contractor is very professional, organized and knowledgeable. Between the client, the contractor and the architect we have a great team all working together towards an excellent result. The experience so far has been great. There have been hiccups along the way, but with all of our efforts we are overcoming the obstacles together. Here are some progress photos.
There are many rebate an incentive programs available throughout Canada that support sustainable and energy efficient renovation and new construction. Unfortunately the majority of programs are available for commercial development or multi-family dwellings including townhomes and condominiums.
For the typical homeowner based in Toronto, the current options are very limited. For approximately five years the Federal Government ran a very successful program called the Eco-Energy Retrofit. This program provided up to $5,000 for improving the energy efficiency of your home including installation of new windows, adding wall insulation, and improving heating and cooling equipment. The incentive money was relatively simple to receive as long as a prescribed process was followed. Regrettably, this program was phased out in March of 2012.
Kate Harrison is a licensed architect and is the principal of KHA.