Climate Disruption and Mold
Climate Disruption and mold…how can we adapt?
Storm clouds are forming on the horizon that are troubling…the intensity and severity of storm systems are undergoing changes that have been directly linked to climate change. Storms will linger longer in areas and downpours will be more severe. Spring will be cooler and longer here in Southern Ontario and snowfalls are predicted to be heavier,
Goods news if you sell snowmobiles but bad news for the rest of us.
So, what can you do now if you want to be ahead of the curve?
Adapting to our changing environment
The bottom line is that, unfortunately, climate change is unavoidable at this time…to what extent is the only question that remains unanswered. Will we be able to limit atmospheric temperature change to 2 degrees C or less? Or have we triggered a cascade effect that will see global temperature increases reach 5 or 6 degrees C?
In Canada we expect to be hit hard, with the North seeing the greatest impacts while we here in Southern Ontario will see rain, rain and more rain.
How will this effect me, my family and my biggest investment…my home?
There are a number of areas you should consider to prepare for the coming changes;
Purchasing a Home
When purchasing a home a number of factors should be considered;
- The location of the home as well as grading / slope of the land when compared to homes on the adjoining lots. Is the home lower than surrounding homes, is it close to a flood plain, is there significant hydrostatic pressure from an underground river in the area, has the home flooded before, does the home have a backflow preventer, is the soil around the home comprised mainly of clay based soil, has the home had waterproofing installed around the entire perimeter. These types of questions should be asked.
Climate change may worsen existing indoor environmental problems and indoor air quality, and it may also introduce new problems as the frequency or severity of adverse outdoor conditions change. Our homes and buildings, where we spend most of our time, provide protection between us and the outdoors. The design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings can impact the air we breathe, our energy consumption, and our health. To protect all building occupants and maintain safe and healthy indoor environments, considerations for buildings should include occupant health and well being, sustainability, energy efficiency, and changing outdoor conditions.
Most U.S. homes and buildings are not new, and were built to withstand environmental conditions at the times they were built. New-construction homes and buildings may face structural and environmental challenges if future climatic conditions are not anticipated in their designs. With use, age, changes in outdoor environmental conditions, and the drive for energy efficiency, homes and buildings will undergo renovation and repair. Modifications to buildings might be made without consideration of indoor air quality and, if not properly implemented, can negatively impact human health.
There are three broad approaches to moderate indoor air pollution: source control, ventilation, and air cleaning. When buildings and homes are modified to decrease energy use, changes can occur in ventilation, infiltration (air leakage), and pressurisation, creating air flow changes that can impact indoor pollutant levels. Furthermore, building upgrades can disturb existing contaminants known to cause health problems. Some of these contaminants have specific regulatory requirements (e.g., asbestos, lead) that must be followed, while many others are not regulated.
There are also building operational concerns to be considered with respect to climate change. For example, provisions for increased frequency and duration of electrical power outages should be considered due to the increased frequency and severity of storms anticipated with climate change. Methods of ventilating buildings and maintaining acceptable thermal conditions using resilient or passive design strategies can be included in building design or modification strategies.
These days, like many people, basements have been turned into a source of additional income with rental units in basements being quite common in Toronto. However, insurance companies are now refusing to issue new policies for homeowners wanting to cover themselves again flood damage and resulting mold contamination.
Newer options are now available for individuals who are looking to increase property values and avoid the wave of expected flooding here in Toronto. New allowances have been made by the City of Toronto to permit the construction of Laneway Housing as well as Secondary Homes on properties across the city. These types of homes are typically elevated above ground level and avoid the possibility of flooding. One company, Flatrock Construction Inc., creates unique homes that render the possibility of flooding moot, (http://www.flatrockinc.ca/).
The increased frequency and duration of electrical power outages should be considered due to the increased frequency and severity of storms anticipated with climate change. Methods of ventilating buildings and maintaining acceptable thermal conditions using resilient or passive design strategies can be included in building design or modification strategies.
Air flow in your home
It is essential to maintain proper ventilation to maintain healthy indoor environments. Proper ventilation is essential for moisture control and to dilute pollutants generated indoors.
Weatherization or retrofitting may include:
- installing storm windows
- weather stripping
- insulating your home
It should also include an assessment of the ventilation required, and adjustment to the ventilation if needed, to accommodate weatherization changes in the home.
Maple Leaf Mold Inc. is a IICRC certified mold / indoor air testing and removal firm operating in Toronto and the surrounding area. We are an experienced, licensed firm practised in finding and removing mold and asbestos. Call 416-254-7256 to talk with us about your issue anytime.