Posts filed under ‘Housing’

TLTI thinking tiny (homes)

When it comes to new housing, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is thinking small.

Tiny, in fact.

Council members decided this week to embrace the tiny-house movement that has become the darling of environmental trend-setters in the United States and Europe.

They asked planning director Elaine Mallory to prepare a zoning bylaw amendment that would remove the minimum size requirements for new houses, and include tiny houses in the township’s definition of permissible dwellings.

The township’s building rules now say that new houses should be at least 807 square feet in size, although houses can go as small as 484 square feet in a mobile home park.

Tiny houses, on the other hand, can run as small as 223 square feet, plus a “wash closet” in the bachelor model.

Read TLTI thinking tiny (homes) by Wayne Lowrie at The Brockville Recorder and Times.

Hat tip to Transition Brockville for this post.

 

 

 

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October 18, 2017 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Find the Best Energy-Efficient Window Treatments

Windows have a huge impact on how our homes look, feel and function, so we want to get them right. But even the best windows have a hard time doing everything we want them to do — let in light and views, keep out the cold, etc. Happily, homeowners can make their windows perform better by choosing energy-efficient window treatments such as insulated curtains and blinds.

You can find some great solutions for how to make windows more energy-efficient — and your home more comfortable — without spending a lot of money. You can even make some insulated window coverings yourself.

Before you buy window covers for your home, take a little time to understand the complexities of energy-efficient window treatments — including the pros and cons of insulated curtains, thermal panels, cellular shades and more. And check out our DIY window treatments that’ll keep you comfortable while saving you money.

Read Find the Best Energy-Efficient Window Treatments by Megan E. Phelps at Mother Earth News.

August 28, 2017 at 10:34 am Leave a comment

How Shared Housing Can Help Counter Social Isolation Among Seniors

senior-shared-housingThe term “elder orphan” describes a senior citizen who doesn’t have children, a spouse, or family nearby to help them out. Elder orphans are often socially isolated and at-risk of not having their basic needs met. As the Baby Boomer generation grows older, housing alternatives, such as senior villages, senior cohousing networks, and shared housing units, are emerging as community-focused solutions to the problem of isolation.

While shared housing may be thought of a something young people do, it offers seniors social connection, an informal support system, assistance with tasks, and an opportunity to save money. I spoke with Annamarie Pluhar, shared housing advocate and the author of “Sharing Housing: a Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates,” about the best ways for seniors to find and keep housemates and enjoy sharing their home with someone else.

Read How Shared Housing Can Help Counter Social Isolation Among Seniors by Cat Johnson at Shareable.

July 24, 2017 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Ottawa Salus, city’s new affordable housing complex, boasts top efficiency rating

Lisa Ker, executive director of Ottawa Salus, expects tenants to move into the charity's latest supportive housing complex next weekend.

How would you like to pay $28 to heat your apartment – for the entire year?

That’s exactly what Ottawa Salus hopes to offer when it opens its new 42-unit affordable housing building this week.

The four-storey supportive housing complex on Clementine Boulevard near Billings Bridge will serve adults with severe mental illness, but it’s also designed to support ambitious environmental and cost-saving goals through a passive house design never before used for affordable housing apartments in North America, according to executive director Lisa Ker.

Using things like thick insulation, tightly sealed doors and windows and a special energy recovery ventilator that circulates fresh air into the building, the apartments will likely be up to 90 per cent more efficient than regular buildings.

Read Ottawa Salus, city’s new affordable housing complex, boasts top efficiency rating at MetroNews.ca.

Hat tip to Transition Brockville for this post!

May 3, 2017 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

What kind of housing do aging boomers need?

late-boomers-jpgI believe the obsession with wide doors with lever handles and corridors connecting the garage to the house is misplaced. If you look at data from the study Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035, household activities (the blue line) includes driving, food shopping, taking medication and meal prep — and they are the first to go, hitting 65 percent of the over-80 crowd, twice the rate of the mobility issues like walking and getting out of bed. Yet these houses are designed with big garages, wide corridors and giant kitchens, and they’re located so that people must drive to go food shopping. There’s something wrong with this picture.

Read What kind of housing do aging boomers need? by Lloyd Alter at MNN

January 11, 2017 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

Why Electrification Matters Now

ElectrificationToday, we’re seeing a combination of government action and market forces that could help push clean energy out of the background and onto centre stage. This blog digs into some of those trends.

The basic recipe goes like this: cut energy waste as much as possible, and clean up your electricity supply so that it’s as low carbon as possible. Then use that clean electricity as your source of energy for activities that we largely power with fossil fuels today.

Instead of fuelling cars with gasoline, power them with clean electricity. Build super-efficient homes, and then use electric pumps to heat and cool them. Design cutting-edge industrial processes that run on renewable power.

Right now, officials from governments across Canada are hard at work compiling policy choices for a national climate plan. (In the weeks ahead, officials will give their lists of options to ministers, and the political deal-making will begin in earnest ahead of a First Ministers’ Meeting later this fall.) The analysis that’s underway includes buildings, transportation, and heavy industry—all sectors where electrification is an important part of the solution. They’re also assessing options in the electricity sector itself, where we’ll need to see more clean power come online as electrification creates new demand.

Read Why Electrification Matters Now by Clare Demerse at Clean Energy Canada.

November 21, 2016 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

Building an Affordable, Sustainable Home

green_homeThe Endeavour House racks up big savings compared with a conventional, similarly sized home in Ontario.

Several years ago, an empty urban lot in the city of Peterborough, Ontario, sparked an interesting and exciting debate among our faculty at The Endeavour Centre, a nonprofit sustainable-building school based in the city: What would it take to build the “greenest” home in Canada? And could such a home blend into an existing neighborhood and meet conventional cost and building code expectations?

In 2012, we set out to answer those questions, as the design and construction of such a house became the focus of our six-month Sustainable New Construction program. A group of eight students joined our faculty and guest instructors to attempt to meet the highest standards we could imagine for a residential construction project.

Read Building an Affordable, Sustainable Home by Chris Magwood at Mother Earth News.

November 2, 2016 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

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