Managing an environmentally sound site
For a building project or renovation, your environmental vigilance must also be exercised at the site level. There are behaviors to adopt and simple procedures to put into practice in order to limit one’s environmental footprint during landscaping and at the start of construction.
REDUCING DAMAGE DURING CONSTRUCTION
During construction, your vigilance must be exercised well beyond the four walls of your home. You must avoid erosion and disturbance of the site. Also ensure a good parasite control in order to reduce damage to your building and to the environment.
Controlling insects, rodents and other pests without poison is a viable option:
- Make sure the wood siding, wood trim and structures are at least 12 inches (30 cm) off the ground
- Caulk the cracks, joints, points of entry, gaps in and around the property to keep pests from invading from outdoors. For openings that cannot be sealed, install grills or grates that are resistant to corrosion and rodents
- Avoid wood-to-concrete connections or partition them with metal or plastic separators
- Protect the exposed foundation insulation with a cover that is resistant to parasites
- Plant all vegetation at least 2 feet (60 cm) from the house and put a buffer zone between plants and the house perimeter, which will reduce water and moisture leaking through the foundation • Install plants and landscaping elements that repel pests and encourage biodiversity; nature possesses mechanisms that regulate pest infestation
To avoid the excavated earth on the site being washed away by the rains into streams, measures to control erosion during construction must be put in place. For example:
- Stockpile and protect from erosion any disturbed topsoil for future use
- Control the path and velocity of storm water runoff with silt fencing, filter socks, berms (narrow space forming a path between a channel or a ditch used to increase the overall stability of the slope or to trap falling rocks and other debris) or ponds
- Protect on-site storm sewer inlets, streams and lakes with straw bales, silt fencing, silt sacks, rock filters, etc.
- Dig swales to divert surface water coming from slopes
In order to counter erosion, possible disruptions to the site and overflow of storm drains during heavy rainfall and flooding, rainwater must be well managed. A permeable soil (wood chips, gravel or pervious concrete) and covered with vegetation (on the rest of the site) will promote infiltration, which will recharge the groundwater and will limit the runoff. A green roof, vegetated swales, a rain garden, as on the site of the ERE 132 home, a sump or a tank are also measures that will limit environmental damage.
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