Friday, March 27, 2009
City Living Renovations (Lite)
City Living is renovating their housing units along Albert St. They were originally built in 1980 as the first part of rebuilding the LeBreton Flats neighborhood. Jim Watson, once and possibly future mayor of our fair burg, was recently on-site for a photo-op (when else do politicians come out into the real world?).
I thought it interesting that the Citizen story mentioned energy efficiency as part of the renovations. The renovations shown in the picture are exterior. New wood product siding is being put over the stucco exteriors. They are adding house wrap first, which reduces drafts and moisture infiltration, but why not put an inch or more of insulation on between the strapping? The answer, I'm afraid, is the same one as in business: the landlord owns the building and faces the cost of insulation, but the tennant pays the utilities. The landlord gets no financial benefit from insulation, and they make sure the poor tennants won't either in this case.
The picture also shows the new (last year) plywood fence along the front of the units. To build it, City Living removed a taller brick wall. I think it would have been cheaper and aesthetically nicer to have simply reduced the height of the brick wall. The wood wall will be as effective a sound barrier as a brick wall. Both the wood wall and wood siding is in keeping with the design guidelines for the LeBreton community which discouraged metal and plastic siding in favour of 'natural materials'.
As part of the renovations, the thirty year old solid wood casement windows are being replaced by plastic windows, many of them horizontal sliders, not usually noted for energy efficiency. I wonder if this go around of renovations will include finally installing some landscaping in the row of planters along the wall. They have remained unplanted for three decades.
Finally, have some pity and admiration for the cyclist shown. Albert Street is one of the most deteriorated in the City, the catchbasins drain slowly if at all, the road is narrow, and the City is proposing to increase bus traffic on the street by the order of over a thousand buses a day.