Big changes coming to Ontario building code
Changes to the Province of Ontario’s building code could include requirements for solar-ready roofs, more stringent heating/cooling efficiency requirements, and graywater reuse. Ontario’s code is scheduled to be replaced as of Jan. 1, 2019. New requirements will support the government’s Climate Change Action Plan unveiled in June 2016. The plan aims to reduce GHG emissions and implement energy-efficient measures in new homes and large buildings.
To be considered solar-ready, large building roofs will have to be able to support a larger dead load allowing for the weight of a future installation of a PV or solar hot water system. In addition conduits will have to be installed on all new houses and buildings. Another proposal is for all apartment buildings and condominiums to have a heat or energy recovery unit as part of their ventilation system.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is seeking comments to be posted on their site during the 77-day comment period that closes September 29, 2017.
The next generation of smart home technology could make more features standard
The next generation of smart home technology devices could be tailored to make smart devices more like standard features. Among the predicted advances are:
- A true automation hub, allowing more devices to connect with a central bridge or hub for wireless use
- The ability to help save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year on utility bills
- Smart windows that do a better job of insulating the house from outside climates and make it easier for residents to heat or cool the inside of their homes
- Smart garages with car charging stations
- An array of appliances that could, for instance, generate grocery shopping lists
Arizona laws ineffective at deterring shoddy contractor work
A report by an Arizona newspaper says that the state’s laws and regulations governing home contractors are ineffective in deterring shoddy work. In Arizona, illegal contracting is a misdemeanor with a maximum $2,500 fine no matter how many times a person has been convicted of a violation. By contrast, California and Nevada have escalating penalties for illegal contracting with a third offense classified as a felony with up to $10,000 in fines. Bad operators often lure would-be customers with bargain pricing, but some take off with deposit money or botch the job.
Washington has new law to improve access to buildable land
The State of Washington has a new law that aims to improve access to and use of buildable land. The law adds clarity to the process of determining what land can be built on, and at what density. It is expected to help the state use existing land supply and infrastructure better to meet housing demand. The law also helps local governments fund homeless and low-income housing developments.