Building Science in the North – Reading List


The readings below are related to our June 2017 LAB Event, presented by Trevor Trainor with guest Justin Breg. The topic for this month is “Lessons from the North: How Building Science Can Meet Local Needs,” looking at how building science principles and local knowledge can together provide better solutions. The resources below provide some related background information and research.

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Top 5 Things to Read:

#1: Measured and Predicted Moisture Performance of High-R Wall Assemblies in Cold Climates
Trevor Trainor, MASc, Jonathan Smegal, MASc, and John Straube, PEng, PhD (RDH), and Anil Parekh (Natural Resources Canada), available at
This Buildings XIII paper describes a research project using measured data to calibrate hygrothermal models. Although the specific modeling discussed in the LAB Event is not included in this paper, it is valuable background for those interested in how the measured data was collected.

#2: First Nations Housing Conference
Various speakers, presentations available at
Several years of past presentations can be accessed as pdfs, and you can also purchase access to recordings of recent presentations. A wide range of topics are covered, from housing policy to construction best practices.

#3: Fact Sheet – First Nations Housing On-Reserve
Assembly of First Nations, available at
A brief summary that provides a snapshot of some of the housing issues that are occurring on-reserve. See also National First Nations Housing Strategy.

#4: Illustrated Guide for Northern Housing Retrofits
RDH, available at
This Guide covers two optimal retrofit programs for a typical single-family dwelling in Canada’s Far North, and is intended to be an industry resource for achieving higher energy efficiency in existing homes, while maximizing utility cost savings and home passive survivability through lower energy use.

#5: Northern Housing Guide
This guide provides both energy-optimized and cost-optimized guidance.

Other Resources:

Cold Climate Housing Research Center
Good general resource for research on building in very cold climates.

A sampling of news stories:

  • Ottawa makes tiny dent in massive demand for First Nations housing. David Akin, National Post, Sept 25 2016
  • A Roof Overhead: First Nation housing on brink of epidemic. APTN National News, March 31 2017

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