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Water Damage

Water Damage
Water Damage

Climate change and the indoor environment

Though we tend to think of climate change as simply an outdoor issue, it is also important to consider how it may affect our indoor environment. The impact of climate change on the indoor environment can take several paths. One of the larger issues would be a need to pay closer attention to moisture control in the built environment due to increased flooding and more extreme weather. In addition, demand for HVAC is expected to increase due to rising outdoor temperature, rising concentration of outdoor allergens, and tighter buildings. Tighter buildings will be one of the main responses to climate change as attempts are made to make the indoor environment more comfortable.

Weatherization programs, which include activities intended to make buildings more energy efficient through avenues such as window sealing to prevent air leakage and better control of indoor temperature, have the potential to cause unintended consequences.

Consideration of cleaning products and disinfection effects on tighter buildings is also key in assessing indoor air quality. Tighter buildings may lead to an increase in indoor VOC concentrations and irritants if cleaning products remain inside. In addition, tighter buildings may create areas more conducive to condensation and other moisture related phenomena creating an environment which is more favourable for mould and bacteria.

There are several topics which home owners, building owners, consultants, health professionals and others should focus on:

  • Moisture control in the built environment
  • Designing HVAC systems for offices and homes
  • Designing radon remediation systems
  • Energy efficient power generation
  • Prevention by design
  • IAQ components of building certification programs
  • Public Transportation
  • Weatherization
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Green purchasing
  • Ventilation maintenance
  • Mould abatement and moisture control
  • Energy efficient power maintenance
  • Integrated pest management
  • Targeted public health training
  • Recognition of environment or occupational illness associated with the built environment

Basement Flooding - Prevention Tips

  • Flood prevention is especially important in warm weather months when sudden, severe storms can greatly increase the risk of a flooded basement.
  • Disconnect downspouts that empty into the City sewer system to direct the rainwater to your lawn and garden or into a rain barrel.
  • Clear eaves trough and downspouts of debris
  • Install a back-water valve and a basement sump pump
  • Consider using soft-surface landscaping such as porous pavement, shrubs, ...
  • Ensure the ground is sloping away from your home's foundation walls
  • Seal window wells and fix leaks in the basement walls around windows
  • Increase the amount of green space on your property to help absorb rainwater, protecting your basement and local waterways from excess storm water
  • Homeowners in Toronto can also take advantage of the City subsidies - of up to $3,200 per property to assist with the cost of installing certain flood protection devices (other municipalities may have similar programs).

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