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Sunday , 26 March 2017

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Building codes don’t save energy: people save energy

Energy efficiency and energy conservation are not the same thing. The latest demonstration of that comes from California, which has one of the strictest “green” building codes in North America. A professor at Georgetown University studied energy use in California’s residential construction industry and concluded that despite the introduction of numerous building code requirements intended to reduce energy consumption by 80 per cent, consumption has actually gone up, not down. Arik Levinson, the economics professor who authored the study, found that the building code’s green requirements added an average of $8,000 to the construction cost of a new home, with little benefit to the public. Recently built homes use more ... Read More »

Car and truck drivers among biggest winners in oil collapse

Canada is the developed world’s energy pig. Canadians consume more energy per capita than any other people, including our polar-dwelling, cold weather-coping, great distances-shipping comrades, the Russians. The United States is the only other country that comes close to Canada in energy use. Therefore, given how important energy is to Canadians, one would expect to see winners and losers from the collapse of crude oil prices. CIBC has weighed in with a new analysis by Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist, and he does indeed  find that “there will be spoils to be shared in Canada.” It’s only by looking at trends in the country’s industries, as well as its households, ... Read More »

Low oil prices could mean cheaper homes in West, not in Toronto

The plunging price of oil makes for a bit of a wild card in the Canadian economy these days. It’s not yet known for certain how declining oil revenues will affect the economies of non-oil producing provinces like Ontario in the longer term. For now at least, Ontario consumers and businesses are enjoying cheaper fuel at the pump and in the furnace. There is a real possibility that the scent of oil will seep into the heady atmosphere of Toronto’s real estate market, and not in a negative way. Cheaper oil could lubricate home prices and sales for months to come, especially if depressed oil prices cause the Bank of ... Read More »

Mortgage borrowers do not shop enough, finance watchdog finds

You often hear things that don’t seem to make much sense. The average person spends more time shopping for a new pair of shoes than for a mortgage is one of these things. Because it sounds so incredible, we tend to think it can’t be true, just some exaggerated bit of rhetoric uttered to make a point. The thing is, it is true, at least in the US, and we have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to thank for making this clear. The CFPB was created after the “great recession” to help avoid any repeat of the mortgage excesses and other risky conditions that caused that recession in the ... Read More »

NYC says foam cannot be recycled, but T.O. okay with it

One way or another, what happens in New York City usually makes news outside the Big Apple. So when New York mayor Bill de Blasio announces that the city has banned polystyrene foam products, better known as Styrofoam, you can be sure to hear about it in Toronto. The New York mayor’s office said in a statement that, after consultation with numerous vendors, non-profits and other stakeholders, the city’s sanitation department had determined that Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) “cannot be recycled.” More than 100 cities in the US, including Seattle and San Francisco, have already banned the foam. This is a ban that will really have an impact, on consumers, on businesses, ... Read More »

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