Environmental

Emerald ash borer - Agrilus planipennis (Fairmaire)


Introduction

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an invasive insect species that was first found in North America in June 2002. Shortly after the Detroit, Michigan discovery, forest health monitoring staff from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and Canadian Forest Service (CFS) determined the beetle was also present in Windsor, Ontario. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was immediately notified. Surveys conducted in Canada and the U.S. found the beetle was well-established in the Detroit and Windsor areas.

Emerald_ashLittle information was known about the beetle at the time. Arriving in North America through improperly treated wooden packaging material from Asia, the insect didn’t even have a common English name. Despite substantial research and control efforts, the beetle has continued to spread to new areas. Some of this spread has been natural dispersal, but the long distance spread has been helped by people, especially through the movement of nursery stock or infested firewood from infested areas.

Emerald ash borer is now found throughout much of Essex County and part of Chatham-Kent in Ontario. In Michigan, the beetle is concentrated in the southeastern portion of the state, but has also spread to multiple locations in the Lower Peninsula and as far north as the Mackinac Bridge. Spot infestations have also been found in Ohio and Maryland. Researchers, regulators, and urban foresters are in a race to halt the spread of the insect long enough to develop effective control measures to save native ash trees, an important hardwood species in North America.

The Threat

  • The emerald ash borer is able to attack and kill healthy trees.
  • All native ash species are at risk.
  • Ash trees of all sizes are susceptible to attack, from 5 cm DBH (diameter at breast height) to 90 cm DBH or greater. Larvae have been found in branches as small as 1.1 cm in diameter.
  • Ash trees are widespread in Canada and the United States, both in natural and urban settings, and green ash is one of the most commonly planted species in the urban forest.
  • Emerald ash borer is very difficult to detect early. When infested trees are found, it’s often 1 year or more after the attack occurred. In addition, there are several other factors affecting ash health which may disguise its presence.
  • Estimates show the emerald ash borer has killed several hundred thousand ash trees in Essex County, Ontario, and 8 to 10 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan. Tree loss includes ornamental, rural and woodlot trees.
  • If not effectively controlled, the emerald ash borer is expected to spread across the entire range of ash, causing widespread tree mortality.

Adult Recognition

Adult beetles are metallic blue-green, narrow, hairless, elongate, 8.5 to 14.0 mm long and 3.1 to 3.4 mm wide. The head is flat and the vertex is shield-shaped. The eyes are bronze or black and kidney shaped. The prothorax is slightly wider than the head and is transversely rectangular, but is the same width as the anterior margin of the elytra. The posterior margins of the elytra are round and obtuse with small tooth-like projections on the edge.

Mature larvae are 26 to 32 mm long and creamy white. The body is flat and broad shaped. The posterior ends of some segments are bell-shaped. The abdomen is 10-segmented. The 1st 8 segments each have one pair of spiracles and the last segment has one pair of brownish, pincer-like appendages.

bug full-size-bug

Egg Recognition

Eggs are light yellow or cream-colored, turning yellow-brown prior to hatching. They are approximately 1mm long and 0.6 mm in diameter, and are very difficult to spot on the tree.

Larva Recognition

Larvae are slender, cream-coloured, flattened, with a brown head. Mature larvae are 26-32 mm long and have a pair of brown pinchers at the tip.

Pupa Recognition

Pupae are10-14 mm long, cream-coloured, with terminal abdominal segments that curve upwards. Antennae extend to the base of the wings.

Symptoms and Damage

Ash trees in Ontario and much of the north central region of the U.S. have been exhibiting a range of poor tree health conditions, including generalized crown dieback, leaf diseases and drought. Thorough investigation is critical in identifying whether symptoms of ash decline are caused by the emerald ash borer or some other factor.

bug-eggWhat to look for:

Tunnels

Tunnels are oriented vertically, shallow, meander under the bark with abrupt turns and are packed with sawdust-like waste. Total length of the tunnels may be 50cm. Galleries are exposed 1-2 years after tree death as bark sloughs off.

Bark cracks

Vertical splits in the bark over larval galleries are often present and are usually 7-10 cm long. The cracks are more noticeable on young or pole-sized trees than on older trees with thick bark where close inspection is required to distinguish the bark splits from normal expansion caused by vigorous growth. Removing the bark will expose the galleries and larvae, if present.

Exit holes

Once fully mature, the adult beetle will emerge through an exit hole it has chewed through the bark. These exit holes are distinctly D-shaped and measure 3.5-4.1 mm across. Exit holes may be found anywhere on the tree trunk, root flare, exposed roots or in the crown. Sawdust may be visible in the exit hole or on the bark just outside it, especially in June and July.

Non-emerged adults

Dead adults are sometimes found in exit holes where the beetle was unable to fully emerge. Frequently, the head of these beetles is absent, leaving behind a hollow exoskeleton, suggesting the beetle was killed by another insect.

tunnel tunnel-1

treeTrees

Severely attacked trees may exhibit crown dieback from the top down in the first year of infestation. Often, one-third to one-half of the branches die in one year and the entire tree dies the following year. Foliage may wilt or turn yellow during the growing season. New, or epicormic, branches are common on the trunk of dying trees and dense root sprouts are often present at the base of dead trees or around stumps of cut trees.

Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are very good at finding larvae under the bark. Look for increased woodpecker feeding activity in the trees or for signs of their probing of the bark.

What it does:

  • The adult beetles will colonize a tree by laying eggs on the bark and in bark crevices on the trunk and branches. The larvae then tunnel beneath the bark and feed on the cambium, a layer of live cells between the bark and the sapwood.
  • The larval galleries meander in an S-shaped or serpentine pattern. Eventually, high numbers of larval tunnels girdle the trunk, cutting off the transport of nutrients and water. The tree then starts to die from the top down – foliage on the tree wilts and the canopy may appear sparse.
  • Feeding by adult beetles also occurs on the leaves of ash trees, but this feeding damage is minor compared to the larval tunneling.

Life Cycle

  • The beetle appears to have a one-year life cycle, but there is evidence that some may take two years to mature.
  • Single eggs are laid in bark crevices from late May through July, and hatch in about 20 days. The larvae go through four development stages (instars) as they feed on the phloem and outer sapwood, scoring deeper into the sapwood as they increase in size.
  • Larvae feed aggressively until cooler fall temperatures arrive in October or November, and then overwinter in the tree.
  • Pupation occurs late April to June. Newly-formed adults remain in their pupal chambers for 8-15 days, then bore through the bark to the outside.
  • Adults begin to emerge in mid- to late May, with peak emergence in mid-June. Adults live about one month.
  • Adults prefer the sunnier, warmer sides of the trees and are often found resting or flying in the sunlit portions of the crown and are more active on clear days with little wind.
  • Mating occurs 7-10 days after emergence, with females mating multiple times. Females average about 70 eggs, but laboratory studies show some may lay as many as 250 eggs.
  • The beetles will feign death and drop to the ground when disturbed.
  • The adults are capable fliers. Although it’s unknown how far they will fly in the wild, laboratory experiments show they are capable of flying 10 km or more.

Host Species

All ash trees native to North America appear to be susceptible to attack. Anecdotal evidence suggests green ash and red ash appear to be preferred over white ash, followed by blue ash, black ash, or European black ash. There is no clear evidence that these latter species are resistant to attack. Even if green and red ash trees are attacked first, the insect appears to be able to attack and kill the remaining ash species.

Ash is an important species because it grows readily in disturbed habitats where it can be a major component of woodlots, fence rows or shelterbelts. They often grow along stream banks where they provide wildlife habitat, shelter, soil protection, and bank stabilization. Ash species are also important to wildlife because of their seed production which serves as an important food source. Commercially, ash wood is used for flooring, furniture, sports equipment, native baskets and items, tool handles and numerous products requiring strong, hard wood with less rigidity than maple.

How you can Help

  • Report signs and symptoms of infested trees to the CFIA by phone 1 800 442-2342 (toll free) or online at www.inspection.gc.ca, or contact the OMNR at 1 800 667-1940 (toll free), or your local municipal parks or forestry department.
  • Manage for healthy trees and healthy forests. Follow best management practices for woodlots, and encourage a diversity of tree species.
  • Don’t move infested wood material to new areas.
  • Firewood should be obtained locally, burned on-site, and not left behind.
  • The CFIA program is focused on the leading edge of the infestation to slow its spread. Property owners within the rest of the infested area should watch for signs of infestation and keep trees well-watered and fertilized. Trees dead or dying from emerald ash borer should be cut and burned, chipped. If the appropriate permit is obtained from a CFIA inspector, trees from within an infested area may be properly processed for lumber.

For more information, please consult the website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

City of Beaconsfield - Resolution concerning the exceptional measures to be taken during the period of application of the Ministerial Order with regard to the areas infested by the Eme-rald Ash Borer and its potential presence on the territory of Beaconsfield.

News Release from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, dated May 7, 2013Emerald Ash Borer Regulated Areas Expanded.

Ville de Montréal - Montreal's trees

Natural Resources Canada

View a video

Environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total burden of disease world-wide, and more than one-third of the burden among children. Heading that list are diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria. The disease burden is much higher in the developing world, although in the case of certain non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, the per capita disease burden is larger in developed countries. Health impacts of environmental hazards run across more than 80 diseases and types of injury. Well-targeted interventions can prevent much of this environmental risk.

To learn more, visit the World Health Organization website: www.who.int

Other resources:

 

About residential radon

Radon is a radioactive gas produced naturally by the decay of uranium in the earth's crust. It is present everywhere in the world but its emission and concentration are not uniform. Radon can seep into buildings through cracks and other underground openings.

[...]

Village BeaurepaireWe invite you to Beaurepaire Village to discover the welcome of its merchants and the quality of their services.

You can enjoy a pleasant stroll on wide sidewalks while doing your shopping along Beaconsfield Boulevard and can relax on the shaded benches provided along the way.

Have breakfast at Homestyle Bakery, the former general store building at the beginning of the century. Art galleries, a gift shop, interior decoration stores and the Hub hardware are waiting to greet you. Stop by the jewellery and the women's clothing stores before your hairdresser or barber's appointment.

Several courses are offered in the Village, from quilting to traditional drawing or painting. You also have access to a variety of professionals in specialties such as dentistry or home care services. Looking for a computer, sport equipment, a caterer, a broker, to rent a video or fuel for your car?

You will find all this and more, for a pleasant shopping day.

www.villagebeaurepaire.ca

Planning is the key to a successful renovation. To help you plan your renovation project, CMHC has information and easy-to-understand tips that can help you assess your requirements and learn the key questions before you get started.

Incentive Programs

Visit Natural resources Canada website: nrcan.gc.ca

Leeds buildings

Consult the following resources:

Sustainable roofs

Visit National Research Council Canada: nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

The ocean is a vast source of energy that can be harnessed to produce different forms of usable energy. For instance, technologies have been developed to convert the energy of ocean waves and tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. However, a number of technical, economic and environmental barriers remain and, as a result, ocean energy is currently not a widely exploited energy source.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

The kinetic energy in wind can be converted into useful forms of energy such as mechanical energy or electricity. Wind energy has been harnessed for centuries to propel sailing vessels and turn grist mills and water pumps. Today, wind is used increasingly to generate electricity. Turbines with large propellers are erected on ‘wind farms’ located in strategic areas that have good wind regimes and that are in proximity to existing electrical grids. Wind energy is captured only when the wind speed is sufficient to move the turbine blades, but not in high winds when the turbine might be damaged if operated.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

Bioenergy comprises different forms of usable energy obtained from materials referred to as biomass. A biomass is a biological material in solid, liquid or gaseous form that has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. Excluded from this definition is organic material that has been transformed over long periods of time by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.

Several types of biomass can be used, with the proper technology and equipment, to produce energy. The most commonly used type of biomass is wood, either round wood or wood waste from industrial activities. Wood and wood waste can be combusted to produce heat used for industrial purposes, for space and water heating, or to produce steam for electricity generation. Through anaerobic digestion, methane can be produced from solid landfill waste or other biomass materials such as sewage, manure and agricultural waste. Sugars can be extracted from agricultural crops and, through distillation, alcohols can be produced for use as transportation fuels. As well, numerous other technologies exist or are being developed to take advantage of other biomass feedstock.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

Geothermal energy can be captured from the heat stored beneath the earth’s surface or from the absorbed heat in the atmosphere and oceans. In the first instance, geothermal energy can be captured from naturally occurring underground steam and be used to produce electricity. In the second instance, heating and cooling can be achieved by taking advantage of the temperature differential between outside air and the ground or groundwater.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

To learn more on the installation and maintenance of a geothermal system, download Residential Earth Energy Systems: A Buyer's Guide, published by Natural Resources Canada.

The natural flow of water in rivers offers kinetic power that can be transformed into usable energy. Early usages included mechanical power for transformation activities, such as milling and sawing, and for irrigation. As well, rivers have been used for transportation purposes, such as moving logs from forests to industrial centers.

Currently, hydroelectricity is the major form of usable energy produced from flowing water. To produce hydroelectricity, the water flow is directed at the blades of a turbine, making it spin, which causes an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin as well and thus generate electricity.

The amount of energy extracted from flowing water depends on the volume of water and its speed. Usually, a hydroelectric station is built at a sharp incline or waterfall to take advantage of the speed gained by the water as a result of gravity. Dams are built at some locations to help regulate the flow of water and, therefore, the electricity generation.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

To learn more about hydroelectricity, visit Hydro-Québec's website.

Renewable energy is energy obtained from natural resources that can be naturally replenished or renewed within a human lifespan, that is, the resource is a sustainable source of energy. Some natural resources, such as moving water, wind and sunshine, are not at risk of depletion from their use for energy production. Biomass, however, is a renewable resource only if its rate of consumption does not exceed its rate of regeneration.

A wide range of energy-producing technologies and equipment have been developed over time to take advantage of these natural resources. As a result, usable energy can be produced in the form of electricity, industrial heat, thermal energy for space and water conditioning, and transportation fuels.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

Ventilation allows you to keep the interior of your home comfortable and maintain good indoor air quality. It also contributes to the health of the home’s occupants.

What does ventilation allow for?
Ventilation consists mainly of regularly expelling to the outside the odours, excess humidity and pollutants contained in the ambient air of the house. It also draws in fresh air from the outside to constantly refresh the air you breathe indoors. Opening windows is not enough to ensure proper ventilation of your home. In the winter, only mechanical ventilation will work.

What are the possible problems of inadequate ventilation?
Inadequate ventilation generates excess humidity that causes condensation in the windows, premature deterioration of the house and the proliferation of mold.

If there is inadequate or faulty ventilation, there is a risk of increased concentration of chemical and biological contaminants contained in the air. For example, doing extensive repair work or home projects, stripping paint from furniture and using gas-fired equipment are all sources of pollution for the ambient air. Proper ventilation is necessary to keep indoor air free of such pollutants.

Excessive, poorly balanced ventilation or a ventilation system that is poorly maintained often causes discomfort, dries the ambient air in winter and wastes energy.

Another means of coping with contaminated indoor air is to dilute the pollutants with intakes of fresh air. The best solution, of course, is to limit the sources of indoor pollutants. Storage of paints and cleaning products is usually an easily avoidable source of contamination.

What are the points to consider when choosing ventilation equipment?

  • Determine the necessary air flows and select equipment capable of providing an air renewal rate that is sufficient, not excessive.
  • Measure the air flows and have a specialist balance air flow when the equipment is installed.
  • If possible, opt for a heat recovery unit, as it will help keep your home heating bill at an acceptable level.
  • Make sure that the unit and the ducts are accessible at all times to facilitate maintenance and regular cleaning.
  • Use rigid conduits for easy cleaning, and maintain all components in good condition.
  • Have the air tightness of your home evaluated by an expert before buying or installing a ventilation system.

What does the installation of a ventilation system entail?
The installation of a ventilation system is a necessity for almost all homes. In order for the system to be adapted to the particular conditions and needs of each house, it must be designed by ventilation professional in accordance with the 1995 National Building Code of Canada or higher standards.

The ventilation system can be simple (a central air circulator) or more elaborate (a layout of several ventilators and conduits), depending on need.

Bathrooms should be equipped with an exhaust fan and kitchen stoves or ranges with an exhaust hood to expel smoke directly outside. Living rooms, bedrooms and regularly used closed rooms should have grilles for fresh air intake.

Mechanical ventilation of your new home
Modern homes are airtight, which increases comfort level and reduces energy costs. Nonetheless, various factors that affect indoor air quality also threaten the health of its occupants. In building airtight houses, construction includes a number of composite materials, which are assembled by means of adhesives that can contain toxic substances, such as the particle board used to build kitchen cabinets and children’s furniture, not to mention the carpeting that covers most bedrooms.

The most important provision of the National Building Code concerns mechanical ventilation of new homes. In addition to the obligation to install a system capable of replacing the total volume of air in the house once every 3 hours, fresh air must also be delivered into each room of the living quarters by means of conduits. Rigid conduits provide better performance, and are also easy to clean and balance. Installation of a heat recovery unit is suggested for reasons of comfort and energy efficiency. If the house has a fuel-burning unit such as a fireplace or an oil-fired furnace, the system must be equipped with a ventilation opening for so-called makeup air. Installing a carbon monoxide (CO) detector is strongly recommended.

If makeup air enters only by infiltrations in the envelope, it is possible that the pollutants in the building materials that make up the envelope could contaminate the indoor air. The drainage system could also contribute to indoor air pollution by allowing radon to infiltrate the living quarters.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

Given the vast selection of lighting fixtures available on the market, it is essential to determine your needs before making your choice, for both indoor and outdoor lighting. Whether you’re looking for direct or diffuse lighting, a reading lamp or a particular lighting ambience, choose the best ratio of energy consumed to brightness provided.

Heating accounts for roughly two-thirds of your household energy consumption. Since your thermostat regulates the temperature in your home, it should be perfectly adapted to your heating system. The thermostat allows you to save a considerable amount of money while improving the comfort of your home. The quality of a thermostat lies in its precision. The secret is to start up the heating system before the ambient air gets too cold, and to stop it before it gets too warm.

Here are some tips on lighting and thermostat use to help reduce your energy consumption.

Buy lamps that provide maximum light
Do you prefer lampshades in pale colours, or adjustable lamp reflectors? Either way, you should choose a bulb that produces the most lumens (measurement of light) and consumes the fewest watts as possible. Contrary to popular belief, the number of watts (40, 60, 100, etc.) is not an expression of the quantity of light emitted. A 40-watt light bulb will always consume 40 watts of electricity, regardless of the quantity of light produced.

Bring on the fluorescent lights!
If they are suitable for your lighting needs, fluorescent lamps are the most energy efficient choice available. To produce the same quantity of lumens, they consume less energy than any other type of bulbs. They are perfectly suited for lamps that stay switched on for long periods of time.

Leave lights on only when necessary
It is pointless and costly to leave lights on all night long. Program a few inside lamps on a programmable timer that switches on and off at pre-set times. For outside lamps, install a lamp equipped with a motion detector.

Install electronic dimmers
By using a light dimmer, you reduce your energy consumption and extend the life of your light bulbs. Depending on the decrease in intensity, you can save from 5 to 50% in energy costs.

Replace old mechanical thermostats
Because they are less sensitive to changes in the ambient temperature, mechanical thermostats fluctuate, varying by 2 to 5°C from the desired temperature. The precision of electronic thermostats procures a constant temperature and greater comfort, and can save you up to 10% in heating costs.

Lower the temperature
In lowering the temperature by 3°C during the night, you can save up to 6% in heating costs. Don’t lower it by more than three degrees, because the time it takes for the heating system to re-establish a comfortable temperature will cancel part of the gains made.

Choose a programmable or electronic thermostat
We often tend to forget to raise or lower the temperature at the appropriate moment. Programmable thermostats can do the job for us. Simply enter your desired temperature settings and the thermostat takes care of the rest. There are also some very simple electronic thermostats that have only two buttons. Although they are not programmable, they offer the same precision as the more elaborate models.

Select a thermostat adapted to your lifestyle
If your weekday living habits change on the weekend, opt for a more sophisticated programmable thermostat. So-called 5-2 models offer a lower temperature schedule from Monday to Friday, and a second option for the weekend. Some thermostats offer 5-1-1 programming that allows you to set separate programs for Saturday and for Sunday. Others allow you to set a different program for each day of the week.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

Big or small, your household appliances consume a lot of energy. On average, your big appliances consume 20% of the total energy used in your residence. The refrigerator is the biggest energy guzzler, followed by the freezer, the washing machine (if it uses hot water), the dryer, the dishwasher and the stove. Even though their energy consumption is constantly improving, substantial energy savings can still be made if your choose appliances whose power and size correspond to your needs, and if you make optimum use of these appliances.

Smaller appliances provide substantial savings in energy consumption, while extending the life of your big appliances. Consequently, when you have a choice of using one or the other, opt for the smaller one. Whether it is a microwave oven, a toaster oven, a crock pot, a tea kettle, a coffee maker or an electric skillet, don’t be afraid to use them as often as you can.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® Label
When shopping for a large household appliance, the international ENERGY STAR® label is a symbol of energy efficiency at its best. Products bearing the ENERGY STAR® label will help reduce your energy and operating costs by 30 to 50%. You’ll also be helping the environment. For a refrigerator, you can save upwards of $80 per year. For more information, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada.

Give your fridge a breather
If your refrigerator is next to your stove, dishwasher or a sunny window, it has to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Regular cleaning of the cooling coil underneath or in the back of the fridge helps maintain good performance and can save up to 12% in energy consumption.

Do you really need a freezer?
A freezer is almost as much of an energy guzzler as a fridge. If you’re not the sort to stock up on provisions, then the freezer compartment of your fridge should fulfil your needs. If you want to buy a freezer, keep in mind that horizontal or chest freezers consume less energy than vertical or standing freezers. The rule of thumb to determine what you need in a freezer is half a cubic foot per person in the home.

Microwave rather than convection oven
By using a microwave rather than the oven in your stove when cooking small quantities of food, you’ll save energy because a microwave oven consumes five times less energy. Keep in mind that it must be airtight, with nothing preventing the free circulation of air around the appliance.

Discover the benefits of the electric skillet
By using an electric skillet rather than the burners on your kitchen stove, you have more control over the cooking temperature and you consume less energy to obtain the same results.

Use a toaster oven, a tea kettle and a crock pot
For the same cooking time, a toaster oven consumes two times less energy than the oven in your stove. Compared to the burner on your stove, an electric tea kettle can use 40 to 70% less energy, while an electric crock pot uses up to 80% less energy!

A coffee maker adapted to your needs
By selecting an appropriate size coffee maker, you avoid wasting both energy and coffee, while ensuring that you’ll always have hot, fresh coffee on hand.

Start the dishwasher only when it’s full
Approximately 85% of the energy consumed by a dishwasher is used to heat up the water. You should rinse your dishes in cold water, wait until the machine is full of dishes before using it, use the short cycle option and let the dishes dry by opening the door rather than using the hot air drying cycle.

Wash in cold water
By washing your clothes in cold water, you’ll save about $50 a year. Replacing a conventional washing machine with a front-loading model allows for significant savings of energy and drinking water.

Use the spin cycle twice
By using the spin cycle twice, you remove more water from the wet clothing. Your dryer then won’t have to work so hard to dry your clothes. Clean the lint filter frequently, and make sure that the exhaust duct and outside vent are not obstructed. On sunny days, hang your clothes outside to dry.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of the doors and windows in your residence and thus reduce your heating costs.

Inspect your window frames
Contrary to what you might think, the frame of a window is as important as the glass or glazing. If the joint between the frame and the structure is not airtight and watertight, it can be easily rectified. Place fibreglass insulation loosely between two beads of slightly compressed ethafoam. Minimal expansion urethane sealant will also do the trick.

Make your windows leak-proof
If your windows perform poorly, make them airtight and waterproof. For sash windows, add tubular or V-shape weather stripping. If you use storm windows doubled onto regular windows, install them early in the heating season.

Replace your windows only if the frames are in bad repair or if it is impossible to make them airtight. Sealed windows (double glazed) that have traces of moisture between the two panes of glass have lost their initial sealing. Rather than changing the entire window, simply replace the glass with high-energy efficiency glass which will cost much less.

Apply transparent film to your windows
If there are some windows you don’t need to open during the winter, installing a transparent plastic sealing film with a portable hair dryer will make your windows much more airtight.

Install weather stripping to block cold air drafts
It is important to keep all doors that lead to the outside and also those that open onto unheated rooms in good repair. Properly installed weather stripping blocks drafts. Before installing the strips, tighten all the screws in the door hinges. If correctly installed, the door will close easily and tightly, compressing the weather stripping with no need to shut with force. Never paint weather stripping, or it will lose its elasticity. For the doorsill or threshold, install a door sweep weather strip either on the threshold or on the door itself. For letter slots, install a storm flap and locking covers.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

Serious problems of dampness and moisture are often accompanied by unpleasant odours. Before deciding to ventilate in the winter or to install a dehumidifier in the summer, try to locate the source of the problem.

What are the indoor sources of humidity?
During the summer, humidity can be the result of condensation that occurs when warm, humid air comes into contact with cold basement walls. If your cold water taps seep with moisture after you use them, it is possible that the lower part of the foundation walls are experiencing the same phenomenon. A poor quality or badly installed vapour barrier will allow the water vapour contained in the warm air to travel through the walls via the electrical boxes or window frames.

If the concrete underneath the wood or carpeting has not been protected by a damp proof membrane, the origin of the odour is usually rotting wood or damp carpeting.

What are the outdoor sources of humidity?
Water infiltrating through cracks can also be the cause of such a problem. Ground that slopes down toward the basement rather than away from it, or rain gutters that empty into a tile drain or a drain that is blocked by leaves might also be the source. Other potential causes are window edges that have become blocked with organic deposits, or a perimeter drain that is clogged with sand or tree roots. Damp ground is more subject to frost, which can cause cracks in the concrete walls.

What temporary measures can I take to disperse the humidity?
Heating your home will help reduce problems of humidity. Once it is warmed up, however, the ambient air may still contain a substantial amount of moisture. As soon as the temperature drops back down, the humidity condenses on cold surfaces and the cycle begins again, adding even more water to porous materials.

While waiting to determine the specific source of the problem and to proceed with corrective measures, clean any mold or black stains with a solution of 1 part bleach and 3 parts water. The solution should stay in contact with the mold or stain for at least 20 minutes. Wear a mask and gloves when performing this task.

If the exterior relative humidity exceeds 70% during the summer, you should use a dehumidifier. Bringing that outdoor air into your home would have the effect of increasing the relative humidity of the basement. During the winter, you can ventilate by opening two windows for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the outdoor temperature.

What are permanent means of eliminating humidity?
Once preventive measures have been taken and the sources of humidity definitely determined, corrective measures must be taken. Hire a specialist if this involves major renovation work.

A perimeter drain can be unblocked using special equipment. If that approach doesn’t work, the ground around the foundations will have to be dug up and the drainage system replaced. Once the foundation walls have been exposed, insulate them from the outside, especially in the case of concrete block or stone foundations.

The largest cracks in a concrete wall are usually repaired working from the outside, although some specialists guarantee repairs of medium-sized cracks done from the inside.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

Insulating the foundations and insulating the roof of your home will help it withstand extremes of cold or heat while maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature, thereby avoiding exorbitant energy bills. Without adequate insulation, your home risks losing a substantial amount of its heat as follows:

  • 17% through the above-ground walls;
  • 15% through the underground walls and the foundation footings;
  • 11% through the roof.

Poor insulation is also responsible for cold floors and walls, condensation at the wall base and the proliferation of mold. Insulating your home can make a big difference.

Procedures & Materials
There are various types of insulating materials: rigid foam panels, fibreglass batts, loose cellulose fibre, injected and foam insulation. To be effective, the insulating material should:

  • uniformly fill the space to be insulated;
  • be resistant to heat transfer;
  • be long-lasting;
  • resist humidity (in certain cases).

Its thermal resistance or R factor (RSI, in the metric system) indicates an insulating material’s performance. The higher the R or RSI value, the more resistant it is to heat transfer and the better it is as insulation. Nevertheless, regardless of the material chosen, its installation must be faultless, for its thermal resistance depends on it being properly installed. When selecting an insulating material, the first consideration is what use it is destined for, rather than its thermal resistance (R) or cost. For example, certain materials are not suitable for insulating a basement but are perfect for insulating the attic.

Is your house well insulated?
Do you have plans for construction or renovation projects? Here are a few important things to consider when carrying out the work:

  • Insulating your house from the basement to the attic will not only eliminate the problems of cold floors, condensation and mold, but will also reduce your heating costs.
  • Pay special attention to structural components during any construction or renovation project.
  • Install the insulation in continuous, seamless fashion on the surface of studs supporting the exterior walls, and the floor joists of overhanging beams.

Insulation that has been well planned and installed in your construction or renovation project will make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy consumption.

How should I insulate a concrete basement wall?

Insulating from the inside

Insulating or adding to the existing insulation of a foundation wall from the inside increases the risk of freezing. If the ground is damp and the foundations are close to the frost line, it is best to keep the foundation footings warm by leaving a space at the base of the wall that is not insulated.

Check for any cracks that might be the source of water infiltrating from the outside. The humidity caused by condensation during the summer is apparent in black stains at the base of the wall, while water infiltration from the outside is apparent in deposits of mineral salts on the wall.

The thermal resistance of a foundation wall should be between R-10 and R-15. Use water repellent insulation. The best material is styroplastic foam (Type 3 or 4), but it must be covered with a fireguard as quickly as possible. Mineral wool or fibreglass batts give good results as long as the insulation is protected with a damp-proofing membrane.

Insulating from the outside

If the perimeter drain needs to be repaired, take advantage of the occasion to insulate the foundations from the outside. Stone and concrete block foundations must be insulated from the outside.

After excavating the foundations down to the footings, use rigid foam board insulation (Type 4) that is at least 50 mm (2 in.) thick and extend it to the full height of the wall and on top of the footing. The insulation must be protected from the rays of the sun. Use a water repellent membrane and premium granular backfill to keep the foundations dry. In terms of comfort, as long as you remove the inside insulation, the thermal mass created by the concrete is equivalent to that of an old hot water system.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

Approximately 60% of household energy expenditures go towards heating, representing more than $1,000 on average per residence. It is however possible to improve the energy efficiency of your heating system at low cost, regardless of the energy source.

Here a few simple things that can help improve the efficiency of your heating system.

Close the curtains at night and open them during the day
In wintertime, open your curtains during the day so that the sun can warm up your house. As soon as night falls, close them to cut down on heat loss.

Remove the dust from your warm-air heating system
Dust is the enemy of warm-air heating systems. Clean the air filters and the air intakes and outlets. Clean the inside of the unit with a vacuum cleaner. After a few years of use, clean the fan so that no dust impedes the movement of warm air throughout the house.

Watch for rust and bleed your radiators
When you notice rust on the pipes or on the furnace or boiler, contact your service technician, as such oxidation can lead to leaks. Don’t forget to bleed the air out of the radiators at the start of the heating season.

Keep an eye on the flame in your oil burner
From time to time, look through the inspection window to check the flame in your oil-burning furnace. Note whether it is burning well, and make sure there is no soot build-up. The flame should burn bright yellow and emit no smoke. If that is not the case, call in a specialist for a tune-up. He will conduct a combustion test and analyse the furnace’s performance before adjusting the burner. You’ll save on fuel and also reduce your carbon footprint. You might also have to upgrade your heating unit.

Clean your direct-fired heating system
If you clean your oil or gas heating system immediately after the heating season, the accumulated sediment is easier to dislodge than when time and humidity make it sticky and hard to remove. Leave burner adjustments to a specialist.

Assess your heating needs
If you want to change your heating system, make sure that the furnace installer doesn’t just simply replace the existing unit with a system of the same capacity, for equipment that is over 25 years old is often twice as big as today’s more efficient models. The heating load for your house should determine the type of unit required. To compare the performance of heating units, check the EnerGuide Label that lists seasonal performance.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec

Energy plays a role in our environment, our economy and our everyday lives. It is no surprise then, that we must consider this topic when discussing sustainable communities. By making certain choices on a small scale, our citizens and communities can contribute towards creating a positive, long-lasting change on a grander scale. Many of these choices involve energy efficiency. There are two main points to consider when discussing energy efficiency: habits and products.

Firstly, the manner in which you interact with your energy-consuming products greatly affects the overall energy efficiency of your lifestyle. Behaviors such as leaving your lights on all night or having your computer screen on maximum brightness contribute towards your energy consumption. Creating and maintaining energy-efficient habits can save you a good amount of money, while contributing to creating a more sustainable community.

Secondly, your choice in energy-consuming products has a very significant impact on your energy consumption. By switching to more energy efficient products, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs or by choosing high-grade insulation for your new home, you can enjoy a better lifestyle while saving money on your energy bill.

In energy efficiency, every little thing counts!

Energy has played an integral role in the development of our civilization as well as life in general; as far back as we can tell. As our knowledge on the topic of energy grew and discoveries were made, we eventually developed techniques that allowed us to control the flow of energy in controlled systems. Today, you can flood a room with light, with the simple flick of a switch. Energy consumption has become such an essential part of our everyday lives that most people forget that we depend upon it.

Consider where your energy is coming from. Approximately 86% of the world’s energy is based on fossil fuels. You can help reduce global carbon emissions and make a positive contribution in the fight against global climate change by being more energy efficient. Here is an example of how simple changes can lead to large-scale repercussions: If every household in Canada changed just one traditional incandescent light bulb to an ENERGY STAR labelled CFL, the country would save over $73 million in energy costs every year and reduce GHG emissions by 397,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) - which would have the same impact on climate change as taking 66,000 cars off the road for one year…

Founded by the Conseil régional de l’environment of Montreal, the project consists of patrollers who raise awareness on issues concerning the environment in and around the city. The patrollers are full time Cegep or University students who are hired by a local ‘Eco-Quartier’ or local organization, during the summer.

The Green Patrol’s objective was to inform and sensitize citizens about better environmental practices and habits, especially involving the management of hazardous waste, climate change, and ecological gardening by way of different activities (door-to-door, kiosks, day camps and other events).

White grubs are the larvae of certain beetles, such as June beetles and chafers. Grubs are one of the most difficult lawn pests to deal with.

versblancGrubs are white or yellowish and have fleshy, wrinkled, C-shaped bodies with tan or brown heads and six spiny legs. They are quite small upon hatching, but at maturity are from 2 to 4 cm (3/4 to 1 1/2 inches), depending on the species.

The most common white grubs infesting turf in Canada are those of the native June beetle or Junebug. Two smaller exotic species, the European chafer and the Japanese beetle have been accidentally introduced into Canada and are found primarily in the Niagara peninsula. The European chafer however, has recently migrated further north and east, and is responsible for much of the lawn damage in recent years in eastern Ontario.

June beetle adults are shiny reddish brown, up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. The adult European Chafer is light brown or tan and is about 1.3 cm (0.5 inch) long. The adult Japanese beetle is metallic green and bronze, about 1 cm (less than 0.5 inch) long.
Signs of grub infestation

Grubs feed on the roots of many plants, but prefer the fibrous roots of lawn grass. As the roots are destroyed, turf will wilt and turn brown. They also feed on potatoes and carrots in the garden. They cut the main stems or roots of plants below the soil surface, and tunnel into tubers and freshly rooted plants. Affected areas will feel soft and spongy to walk on, and turf in these spots can be lifted up with ease. Carefully fold back the turf and observe the number of grubs exposed. Damage is most severe in the spring and fall when moisture levels in the soil are high. During drier periods, the eggs may be killed and surviving larvae can be found deeper in the soil. Extremely dry summers destroy many eggs, and newly hatched grubs. Mature grubs can be found near the surface in late summer and early fall.

Often skunks and other small mammals will pull back the turf to feed on grubs in the spring or fall. This secondary damage to your lawn, as well as flocks of starlings and blackbirds feeding on the lawn, are signs of a grub infestation. If you have any of these natural predators digging at your grass, check for white grubs. Many people notice these indicators first.

Lawn care

Cultural practices are the best way to ensure the health of your lawn before any problems occur. If you can, dig or till your land one year before you seed it or lay sod. Remove old plants and weeds, rake/thatch your lawn or cultivate the soil thoroughly to expose any grubs to their predators and the weather, to reduce populations.

Healthy, vigorously growing lawns can tolerate more grub feeding than stressed lawns because damage to one root is compensated for by others. Adequate leaf tissue also provides nutrients and energy to repair root damage. Remove excessive thatch, and aerate compacted soil areas to ensure proper drainage. A mechanized soil aerator with spikes or spiked sandals can also help kill some of the grubs.

Beetles prefer to lay eggs in closely cropped lawns, so raise your summer mowing height to 6 to 8 cm (2.5 to 3 inches). Leave lawn clippings after mowing, because their slow release of nitrogen favours the decomposition of thatch by microorganisms. Use fertilizer with high potassium and adequate nitrogen.

If you detect grubs during the warm, dry periods of the growing season, irrigate and fertilize your lawn to maintain the turf vigour and to compensate for the root feeding damage. Apply a top dressing of sand and manure and overseed with grass. Deep, infrequent irrigation encourages deep-rooted drought-tolerant lawns. Water no more than once per week, and water until at least 2 cm (1 inch) of water collects in a container placed on your lawn or for about one hour.

Population control

You can hand pick adult beetles or vacuum them using a small vacuum with a disposable bag. You can also shake beetles from plants and collect them in a cloth, placed directly below the plant. For best results, collect the beetles early in the morning when they are still sluggish. Immersing beetles in soapy water can kill them.

Predators

Beneficial predatory insects such as ants prey on the eggs of Junebugs. Certain parasitic wasps and flies help keep host Junebug or Japanese beetle populations in check. Some of these are specific to a single host, but others will control several pests in an area. Bird houses attract natural predators (starlings, blackbirds), that feed on white grubs.


Resistant varieties of plants
Choose resistant varieties of plants. If reseeding or establishing a lawn, use grasses containing an endophytic fungus such as fescues and ryegrasses. This type of fungus repels the grubs. Companion plants such as larkspur and geranium are toxic to grubs.
For all three grub species, apply a treatment just after the larvae have hatched, in mid- to late-August or in mid-September, when the turf is moist.

Source: Health Canada

Leaf mulching involves shredding leaves with a lawnmower and using them as mulch on your gardens and lawn. Mulching leaves directly back into the turf has proven to be a cost and time effective means of leaf disposal and does not negatively impact turf performance.

View the video produced by the Beaconsfield Environmental Advisory Committee to learn more.


Ecological Lawn Care Tips

 

healthy lawnSpring

  • Avoid working on a wet lawn.
  • Spread lime on the lawn.
  • Sharpen the lawnmower blade each spring.
  • Raise the lawnmower blade to at least 7.5 cm (three inches).
  • Rake in the late spring to remove debris and brown patches.
  • Remove weeds by hand
  • Aerate the lawn.

Summer

  • Deep infrequent watering promotes deep strong roots. Watering too often may cause disease by starving the soil of oxygen.
  • Grass naturally protects itself from periods of drought by becoming dormant, and can survive several weeks in this state. It will simply regain its normal colour once the humid weather returns.
  • Some experts say lawns don’t need watering at all in our region. If you feel you must water your lawn, please water deeply and infrequently.
  • grassDuring a dry period, avoid fertilizing and mowing your lawn.

Fall

  • Aerate the lawn.
  • Overseed the lawn with a mix that is high in bluegrass and fescue grass seed. Apply 10 pounds per thousand square foot (4.5 kg per 92.9 sq-m) and spread as evenly as possible. Lightly rake the lawn to help the seeds settle down.
  • Top dressing: In early fall, top dress the lawn with a thin layer of compost or good garden soil, and add grass seed to take care of any thinned-out areas.
  • Fertilizing: Clippings left on the lawn are rich in nitrogen and provide easy and free fertilization. Fertilizing in early fall promotes vigorous lawn growth the next spring. Use the fallen autumn leaves as natural fertilizer for next year’s garden.

Biological diversity - or biodiversity - is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural  processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.

Source: Convention on Biological Diversity cbd.int

Useful links

Morgan Arboretum
morganarboretum.org

Birding Montreal
birdingmontreal.squirrelworks.ca

Network of large parks
ville.montreal.qc.ca

Nature Conservancy
natureconservancy.ca

advisory commitee people meetingHeaded by councillor Karen Messier, this committee is formed to develop and propose strategies which address Beaconsfield's vision of becoming a sustainable community through improved environmental responsibility.

The citizen members of the BEAC have a wide range of expertise and backgrounds to meet the demands of this important mandate. After much discussion the BEAC has decided to focus its energies in the first part of its mandate on the following: Creating a local action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; Reducing garbage (certain provincial restrictions are forthcoming which our municipality will have to abide by) while increasing recycling and reusing; Exploring alternative energy sources for our municipality to reduce costs and GHG emissions; Develop an education campaign to support these goals, in our schools, commerce and homes; and finally establish itself as a credible advisory body to the council on issues and decisions which have an environmental impact on our community.