One of the most obvious changes in climate has been an increase in temperature. There are many consequences to this, including rising sea levels and more violent weather that threaten property, but temperature increases themselves can be deadly.
Residential buildings in the temperate, coastal regions of western North America weren’t really designed for hot weather. Relatively few homes have air conditioning and our outdoor spaces have generally assumed cooler, wetter conditions. There’s a wide range of things we can consider doing: some actions just call for small shifts in behaviour while others involve comprehensive retrofits.
Cities experience heat island effects, warmer temperatures than undeveloped land, due to pavement and buildings that absorb light and retain heat.
Concern for community is one of the core co-operative principles. Here are some tips to ensure your members—especially the most vulnerable—are comfortable during heatwaves and other particularly stressful periods.
Direct sunlight on windows and the exterior of your building can significant increase the temperature of your members' homes. There are several ways to mitigate this sunlight, many are low cost.
Work in this area can involve major reinvestments in your buildings, but if you’re already planning to do work, it makes sense to consider all your available options.
There may be grants available (see Building envelopes, energy efficiency and funding options) to help you navigate your way though the possibilities. You can also talk to staff working with the CHF BC long-term planning team.
Tip #1: BC Hydro offers suggestions on sealing windows and doors and the ECAP program (see Building envelopes, energy efficiency and funding options) offers direct help to members.
Tip #2: Look for stains on the ceilings, floors, walls, windows, and other openings. Stains can be a sign of moisture presence which could have been transported with the air flow from outside.
On July 28, 2022, we hosted a webinar on addressing overheating in co-operative housing.
The webinar—facilitated by Amy Lubik, PhD , a policy analyst at Fraser Health, and Jackie Kloosterboer, a disaster preparedness specialis—looked at:
We’ve focused on heat-related adaptations, but climate change in BC also affects forest fire risk and air quality concerns. Some of the measures you take to adapt to one consequence of climate change can also improve matters for others. (The same controls that help moderate heat flows can also reduce the introduction of particulates into our living spaces.)
We’ll look at other kinds of adaptations in future updates. In the meantime, here are some additional resources to review.