Cannabis Smells

Published on September 17, 2018

Cannabis Smells

On October 17, 2018, the Canadian federal government will pass legislation enabling Canadians to utilize cannabis recreationally under no risk of criminal punishment. But let’s face it: cannabis smells. Condominium corporations and landlords have already expressed concern over this new legislation, fearing the effects of cannabis smoke on their apartments, rental properties, and nearby tenants.

Similarly, tenants may experience unpleasant effects of smoke or cannabis odour leaking through to their home from adjacent buildings or units. For many, this leads to reduced indoor air quality and poor living conditions.

Known for its variety of names, including marijuana, weed, or pot, cannabis smoke and its accompanying odour is known to be more potent than tobacco. It has a strong, “skunky” odour, and as such, is more likely to seep through air leakage points within a building. Common areas of concern include doors, uninsulated electrical sockets, air vents, and windows.

Air Leakage Pathways

Depending on whether you are a renter, landlord, or condominium manager, you may have different concerns or needs:

Renters: What’s that “skunky“ smell?

Cannabis odours or smoke wafting through to your living space from neighbours and adjacent units can be a very unpleasant experience with potentially negative effects on overall health, while also decreasing your home or unit’s overall value in a home appraisal.

Those with allergies, asthma, or who are sensitive to changes in indoor air quality may be especially affected. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to combat air leakage between units, starting with an energy assessment carried out by Barrier Sciences Group. A targeted assessment with a blower door, carried out by a Registered Energy Advisor, will identify each leakage point causing the drafting scents or smoke, and lay out the best possible path in eliminating them.

Products such as insulated electrical covers, foam for sealing around ventilation and pipes, and carbon-based air filter systems for doors and windows can help reduce the amount of odour and smoke leakage emanating from adjacent buildings or other units.

Landlords & Managers: Reducing the likelihood of tenant complaints from cannabis smells

Smoke and odour control has been a longstanding issue when it comes to the Canadian rental and condo industry, even before the introduction of marijuana legalization, with cases varying on a per-building and per-tenant basis. With the number of variables to take into account with every case, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes finding a cost-effective solution that fits the needs of all parties involved.

Fortunately, Barrier Sciences Group’s Registered Energy Advisors can conduct an air tightness teston the affected unit or home by using a blower door to pinpoint all air leakage areas to be addressed. Following this, an individualized action plan is produced and carried out to ensure the most cost-effective upgrades are made for each affected unit.

Blower Door Test

Solutions including increased caulking around electrical outlets, foam insulation under baseboards, or caulking penetrations in the headers between common units can all be effective in reducing air leakage when directed by an air tightness test on the home or apartment unit, and help in reducing tenant complaints of odd “skunky” odours from cannabis smoke leaking through apartment walls, windows, or doors.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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