Lutselk’e, NWT Multi-Family Home

SIPs make cold climate construction easily happen despite the short building season

Multi-family home in the Northwest Territories Uses Energy Efficient Structural Insulated Panels

In the cold arctic climates of Northern Canada, there is a small window of decent weather. For building homes, that small window can be as short as two months. Cold climate construction brings a number of challenges. For example, building materials must arrive by barge for many remote marine communities, making scheduling even more difficult.

For Northwest Territories Housing Corporation (NWTHC), timing is a crucial issue when providing housing to these communities. In order to speed up the construction process and improve the durability of its buildings, NWTHC has used Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for the roof system in several multi-family buildings.

NWTHC designed a four-unit, 5616-square-foot building to house low-income and elderly citizens. It also constructed nine multi-family buildings in the communities of Aklavik, Fort MacPherson, Paulatuk, Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok, and Deline. All used this design. Using prefabricated Insulspan SIPs, engineered to the specific design of the building, cut valuable time off the construction process.

“We used SIPs because they were quicker to install and because the construction season is so short in the high arctic,” said Scott Reid, Director of Infrastructure Services for NWTHC.

SIP buildings also benefit from airtight construction that reduces heat loss in a climate where heating costs can burden low-income residents.

The Insulspan SIP system uses a continuous core of solid foam insulation, added during the manufacturing process. This eliminates the step of installing insulation on the jobsite. It also improves the durability of the building. It’s especially true in cold climates where harsh conditions often affect other types of insulation materials. Neil Phillips is NWTHC’s Acting Technical Manager in its Beaufort Delta District Office. He frequently hears of water infiltrating poorly installed fiberglass insulation and freezing, making the insulation ineffective. Phillips keeps in constant contact with the communities, talks with maintenance people, and has not had any issues with the SIP roofs to date.

SIP buildings also benefit from airtight construction that reduces heat loss in a climate where heating costs can burden low-income residents. Energy efficiency, along with durability and speed of construction, are top priorities for NWTHC.

Reid is always on the lookout for new building technologies so the experience of building with SIPs is worth repeating. He suggests that NWTHC will consider using this product again in the future.


Want to learn how you can reduce energy costs and gain the structural
strength of the Insulspan SIP system for your residential or commercial project?

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