Construction and Home Renovation
Industry News |
On the Inside:
This 2017 report highlights what's happening in Nunavut and Northwest Territories Construction industries.
by Phil Moon Son
Non-traditional ways of building a home can result in long-term cost savings, those who attended a sustainable housing event at Northern United Place heard on Tuesday night.
Dwayne Wohlgemuth, the first person to build a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard home North of 60, provided a number of tips that can make a home more energy efficient.
He advised, for example, to choose a location close to amenities to minimize vehicle use as well as to retain natural vegetation of a site. Cutting down on the use of water through recycling measures in addition to minimizing the extensive wood in framing can go a long way to reduce costs, he said.
Focusing on good air circulation by avoiding materials with chemicals were other ways one could improve the quality of a home, he said.
Yellowknife contractor Niels Konge of Konge Construction said he has been focusing his company on building multi-family units in the city. Because Konge picked up quite a bit of his trade while studying in Denmark, he has tried to apply a more European-style housing that focuses on LEED standard quality. He never uses vinyl on siding, for example, but uses cement fibre board which is far more durable.
"What is important in building in Yellowknife is energy efficiency," Konge said, pointing out in his presentation that he welcomes the climatic challenges and geography of the North. "Why is it important? You have winter six months of the year and what it really comes down to is paying attention to detail. You can build houses that are tight."
While this often takes a lot of steps, he said good houses come from ensuring structures include well-ventilated air quality, particularly with heat recovery ventilators.
Konge commended the City of Yellowknife for adopting EnerGuide for Houses (EGH) 80 standard in a bylaw, which leads to lower heating costs.
He emphasized that home buyers need to be educated before making purchases because often he meets people who will want to buy "a cheap house," not knowing that if they put a higher investment up front for quality material they will save money in the long run because of energy efficiency.
Longtime resident Karen Hamre, who is planning to build a new house, said she found the panelists at the event informative.
"I thought it was a good seminar and I learned quite a few things," she said. "There was some amount of philosophical discussion and some very practical lessons, too."
Doug Ritchie of Ecology North, which sponsored the forum, said the discussion was informative and one that should continue in the community.
"I think, for me, it was educational, even though I do work in housing," he said. "The big challenge is of getting out more of this type of information. It is important that home buyers pay more attention to the basics of their homes like in water systems and heating systems rather than what goes into their bathroom and sinks. Though those are worthy things as well."
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