Green stuff

Building or buying a new house? You are going to need more of the green stuff because NS is proposing wide ranging new “green”  building code minimum requirements for energy efficiency and water conservation. Things like low flow toilets and efficient furnaces – and other stuff like:

New greywater provisions will address in-home recycling of wastewater from showers or sinks. Other revisions will clarify barrier-free requirements for emergency response facilities and sprinkler requirements for small residential buildings. [link to source]

The new rules for builders will come into effect this spring.

For homeowners, it will mean spending an extra two per cent on their new house, the government estimates. This works out to about $5,000 on a $250,000 home.

On the flip side, there’s an expected payback in terms of energy savings within five years.

These mostly seem like sane conservation measures, reasonable things that many homeowners would want anyway and which will save money in the long run although the provisions are sometimes wrapped up in “reducing  CO2 emissions” language. 

“It’s a big change,” said Ted Ross, building code co-ordinator for the Department of Labour and Workforce Development. “We hadn’t addressed these issues directly. The [building code] was silent. It’s a plus for the environment, for consumers and for the building industry.”

… The revised building code is expected to come into force in April. Besides new homes, it will apply to non-cosmetic renovations that require a building permit. [link to source]

We wonder how the trades view them. They usually notice the things that don’t make much sense. And we have a few questions too.

  • Will they be enforced? We wonder how many homes built recently would actually meet our present building codes on close inspection.
  • Who inspects condominiums and apartments? The developer?
  • Do you think this will push assessments of new houses up again? Unless we reign in municipal budgets, homeowners will need those conservation savings to pay increased taxes.

The deadline for public comments is Wednesday, Dec. 3. The proposed changes are available on the Labour and Workforce Development website at www.gov.ns.ca/lwd/buildingcode/ . People who want to obtain a copy can call Access Nova Scotia at 1-800-670-4357 (toll free in Nova Scotia).

In addition to these new requirements the new MPS and LUB had provisions that required new construction in Wolfville to participate in the Energuide program.

It will be interesting to see how Wolfville’s new Council handles the MPS and LUB given the criticism of the review before the election. Meanwhile the old Council is making decisions such as quashing a project which had been proposed for Maple Avenue.

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