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Northern Sustainable Housing Project & 2010 Northern Housing Forum (Statement to the Legislative Assembly)

by NationTalk on March 9, 2009998 Views

Hon. Michael McLeod
Friday, March 06, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to provide the House with information on the NWT Housing Corporation’s plans with respect to two of its upcoming initiatives: the Northern Sustainable Housing Project and the 2010 Northern Housing Forum.Mr. Speaker, energy efficiency is an important cornerstone to the sustainability and longevity of northern housing. Due to the rising cost of energy and utilities experienced over the last number of years, affordability has become a major concern to the NWT Housing Corporation, homeowners and home occupants.

The Housing Corporation is pleased to announce that one of the ways it is addressing this issue is through its Northern Sustainable Housing Project. Under this initiative, the Housing Corporation is partnering with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on the design and construction of a Northern Sustainable Housing Duplex.

As I previously stated in the House, the Housing Corporation is currently making improvements to the design and specifications of new homes to ensure they meet an efficient standard that will reduce emissions and associated utility costs. At a minimum, the Housing Corporation’s is striving to meet a rating of EnerGuide 80, in accordance with Natural Resources Canada EnerGuide for Houses EnerGuide system for rating the energy efficiency of homes. However, the goal of the Housing Corporation and CMHC in building the Northern Sustainable Housing Duplex is to try and design this home to an EnerGuide 85 rating of efficiency. The criteria for this project also specify that the home will be economical to operate, can be maintained by the Local Housing Organizations, and can be constructed in any community in the NWT, with only minor modifications.

The first Northern Sustainable Housing Duplex is scheduled to be constructed in Inuvik by 2010. Once constructed, this unit will be monitored by the Housing Corporation and CMHC and data will be collected on the building and systems to determine if expected energy saving targets are being achieved. Design and review teams will be developing alternative construction and insulation systems and completing energy modeling to evaluate the design performance.

The NWTHC also expects that this concept may be used in future housing design, as it will be a building that was designed specifically for use in the NWT, taking into consideration things such as climate, logistical challenges, energy conservation, cultural needs, and maintenance considerations, and will be reflective of the unique environment and lifestyle of the North.

Mr. Speaker, the Housing Corporation is also pleased to announce another initiative that addresses housing issues specific to the North.

The Housing Corporation will be hosting a circumpolar Northern Housing Forum in Inuvik in March of 2010 that will be a venue for northern jurisdictions around the globe to generate discussion and share information regarding northern housing issues, challenges, and solutions to building housing in the North.

The forum will highlight northern housing research, design, and construction, while fostering relationships with others involved in the circumpolar housing industry. It will provide an opportunity for stakeholders across the Arctic circumpolar region to show case their designs and technologies that have worked in the NWT and other countries in the Arctic circumpolar region.

For example, the Northern Sustainable Housing Project will be featured at the forum. As well, as I have already noted, the Housing Corporation is in the process of implementing a high efficient standard for its housing units, in accordance with Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide for Houses, minimum 80 rating for high efficient homes. We will also be in a position to display those new designs at this forum.

The forum is expected to attract a wide range of people in the housing sector, including designers, architects, planners, researchers, contractors, tradespersons, goods and service suppliers, policy advisors, and other housing professionals and representatives from across northern Canada and from other Arctic nations.

The last northern housing forum took place in Alaska in 2007 and it attracted over 150 delegates. It is expected that attendance at the forum planned for Inuvik will be similarly well attended.

Our Partners in this forum include CMHC, the Cold Climate Research Housing Research Centre, the National Research Council of Canada, the Yukon and Nunavut Housing Corporations, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The GNWT Department of Public Works and Services has also had involvement in the planning of this forum.

I look forward to updating this house on our progress as we move forward with these initiatives.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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