A showcase project
Since the federal election Oct. 19 there has been considerable discussion on improvements needed to the Prime Minister’s Residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.
There have been all kinds of suggestions, including getting TV renovation guru Mike Holmes to bring his sledgehammers in and gut and renovate the 35-room limestone mansion. The National Capital Commission, which is responsible for the historic building, has an 18-month renovation plan that, according to a report by the Canadian Press, could cost as much as $15 million.
Amongst all the discussion, it has come out that the heating, cooling and wiring systems have been largely untouched since the 1950s. The plumbing needs work too.
The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition has rightly suggested that this project would be a good showcase for geothermal heat pump technology. But it could also be an excellent promotion for the entire industry.
Now that we have a prime minister intent on promoting green technologies and who would likely be enthusiastic about using his home to publicize those technologies, perhaps the industry as a whole should step forward and offer to do the mechanical systems.
There have been a number of similar projects undertaken by the industry – the most recent one that I know of being the mechanical upgrade to the Erland Lee Museum Home in Stoney Creek, Ontario by the Golden Horseshoe Chapter of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). It took a lot of volunteer labour from contractors and considerable support from manufacturers and wholesalers.
As well, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) and its members are heavily involved in a 13-unit town Habitat for Humanity home complex in Burlington, Ont. The industry does these things from time to time, not for the publicity, but because it’s the right thing to do.
However, a similar project in the Prime Minister’s Residence would be both the right thing to do and result in positive and lasting publicity for the industry’s best technologies. Perhaps someone needs to approach the National Capital Commission with the idea.
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