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A Sustainable House for the Canadian Arctic

March/April 2008
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2008 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 01, 2008
Many housing models that have been introduced in the north do not adequately reflect the culture and lifestyle of northern peoples or communities.
With dramatic rises in the cost of energy, it has become clear to northern Canadian governments, housing agencies, homeowners, and renters that the way we build and operate homes is unsustainable. Furthermore, climate change may have a dramatic impact on Inuit culture in the Canadian Arctic. We need to design and construct buildings that significantly reduce energy use, which contributes to global warming, and at the same time are adaptable to the climate change already taking place in the Far North. In addition, there is a growing recognition that many housing models that have been introduced in the north do not adequately reflect the culture and lifestyle of northern peoples or communities. For example, the Inuit traditionally did not have a home as we know it; they often migrated and made use of snow houses in winter and skin houses in summer. But the homes in which the Inuit live today are modern homes, where they live year-round. To address these issues, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), where I work, partnered with northern housing providers to carry out the design, construction, monitoring, and evaluation of two northern housing prototypes.  The goal of the project is to design a ...

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