Health and safety considerations for energy-efficient renovations

Health and Safety

If you are planning home improvements, you should be aware of the following:

Planning Energy Efficiency Renovations for Your Home

A new publication from Natural Resources Canada entitled Planning Energy Efficiency Renovations for Your Home features useful information on what you should consider when planning energy efficiency renovations, including choosing products, doing the work yourself and hiring a contractor.

Urea-Formaldehyde-Based Foam Insulation (UFFI)

Urea formaldehyde based foam insulation, known as UFFI, was prohibited in Canada in December 1980 under the Hazardous Products Act because it may release formaldehyde gas into indoor air. For more information, read Health Canada’s publication entitled Canadian Prohibition of Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation.

Asbestos

Because it is a valuable reinforcing, insulating and fire-proofing material, asbestos was used widely in older buildings and homes in construction materials such as insulation board, asbestos cement, and floor and ceiling tiles. These products are very dense and do not release significant amounts of fibres under normal use. However, fibres may be released if these products are cut or damaged. For more information, read Health Canada's publication entitled Health Risks of Asbestos.

Vermiculite Insulation

Some vermiculite insulation found in older homes may contain asbestos fibres. There is currently no evidence of risk to human health if the insulation is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in an attic, or otherwise kept from exposure to the interior environment. However, it can cause health risks if disturbed during maintenance, renovation or demolition. For more information visit the Health Canada website.

Other Health and Safety Considerations

For information on other health and safety considerations when renovating your home, read the Health and Safety Considerations section of the Natural Resources Canada publication entitled Keeping the Heat In.

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