Construction and Home Renovation

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Home improvement / renovations
by Phil Moon Son

NNSL photo/graphic
As the weather becomes warmer many home owners are starting to contemplate renovation, additions and improvements for this construction season. Finding a contractor in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut is sometimes a difficult challenge especially in the smaller communities. ARROW More details

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Phil Moon Son is Executive Director of the NWT Construction Association


Industry News

Industry News
On the Inside:
This report highlights what's happening in Nunavut and Northwest Territories Construction industries.



NNSL photo/graphic

Eco-friendly ways to save money on your home

Niels Konge

YELLOWKNIFE
Non-traditional ways of building a home can result in long-term cost savings, those who attended a sustainable housing event at Northern United Place heard on Tuesday night.

Dwayne Wohlgemuth, the first person to build a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard home North of 60, provided a number of tips that can make a home more energy efficient.

He advised, for example, to choose a location close to amenities to minimize vehicle use as well as to retain natural vegetation of a site. Cutting down on the use of water through recycling measures in addition to minimizing the extensive wood in framing can go a long way to reduce costs, he said.

Focusing on good air circulation by avoiding materials with chemicals were other ways one could improve the quality of a home, he said.

Yellowknife contractor Niels Konge of Konge Construction said he has been focusing his company on building multi-family units in the city. Because Konge picked up quite a bit of his trade while studying in Denmark, he has tried to apply a more European-style housing that focuses on LEED standard quality. He never uses vinyl on siding, for example, but uses cement fibre board which is far more durable.

"What is important in building in Yellowknife is energy efficiency," Konge said, pointing out in his presentation that he welcomes the climatic challenges and geography of the North. "Why is it important? You have winter six months of the year and what it really comes down to is paying attention to detail. You can build houses that are tight."

While this often takes a lot of steps, he said good houses come from ensuring structures include well-ventilated air quality, particularly with heat recovery ventilators.

Konge commended the City of Yellowknife for adopting EnerGuide for Houses (EGH) 80 standard in a bylaw, which leads to lower heating costs.

He emphasized that home buyers need to be educated before making purchases because often he meets people who will want to buy "a cheap house," not knowing that if they put a higher investment up front for quality material they will save money in the long run because of energy efficiency.

Longtime resident Karen Hamre, who is planning to build a new house, said she found the panelists at the event informative.

"I thought it was a good seminar and I learned quite a few things," she said. "There was some amount of philosophical discussion and some very practical lessons, too."

Doug Ritchie of Ecology North, which sponsored the forum, said the discussion was informative and one that should continue in the community.

"I think, for me, it was educational, even though I do work in housing," he said. "The big challenge is of getting out more of this type of information. It is important that home buyers pay more attention to the basics of their homes like in water systems and heating systems rather than what goes into their bathroom and sinks. Though those are worthy things as well."

NNSL photo/graphic

Homeownership Programs
Five programs offered to residents of the Northwest Territories. The programs offer flexible delivery options and uses education and counselling to help residents not only to become more independent but also to assist them in becoming successful homeowners.


Best way to avoid catastrophic fuel leak?
by Didier Bourgois

Didier
The best way to avoid a major fuel leak and costly clean up is prevention. Fuel tanks don't last forever and eventually they will leak. In the last few years several major oil leaks in Yellowknife have cost homeowners thousands of dollars. ARROW  More details

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Didier Bourgois of Housecheck is a journeyman carpenter, certified home inspector and energy auditor.



The heart of the home is your kitchen
by Kate Hart

Kate
Kitchen renovations are sometimes the most difficult ones to undertake. The mess, disruption and choices can be just plain scary. How do you know what to choose? ARROW  More details

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Toronto-based interior designer Kate Hart has designed the insides of many northern homes.



Packaging the Interior
by Della Fraser

Della
A kitchen can have a major impact on the value of your property. The following are a few ideas that can increase the appeal of your home without spending a great deal of money.

  1. Make sure the kitchen is virtually spotless and smells fresh. Try cutting up a lemon and putting it in a dish on the counter before showings.
  2. Organize your kitchen cabinets to show how much room you have.
  3. Remove small appliances from the countertop to create an uncluttered look.
  4. A freshly painted kitchen may be well worth the investment. Consider painting the ceiling if needed.
  5. Replace worn caulking around sinks and counter tops.
  6. Consider replacing outdated light fixtures and upping the wattage in the bulbs.
  7. Spruce up the cabinets by installing new knobs and hardware.
Della Fraser,an accomplished realtor has lived in the north for 30 years she knows what buyers are looking for!