When sharing our strategies for monitoring Kuugalak with to our community, multiple homeowners and builders expressed interest in having their own buildings monitored for performance and efficiency. We saw an opportunity to begin developing a valuable, and much needed database of building practices in the Arctic. Through funding from Infrastructure Canada's Research and Knowledge Initiative, and in partnership with SAIT Green Building Technology (SAIT GBT), Cambridge Bay's Aurora Energy Solutions, and
multiple community members, our project proposes the monitoring and analysis of indoor air quality, energy and water usage in six community buildings representing a range of conventional and advanced building methods. The goal of this research is to better understand the impacts of different construction, typologies and building choices in the Arctic, including building envelope; mechanical, electrical energy use and renewable energy systems; ventilation; and water use. It will additionally consider the impact of extreme climate conditions in the Arctic and occupant habits in response to these changing conditions. We will compare the various ways that people are actively building in the Arctic, and how each of these strategies performs, in order to
make recommendations for developing more long-term and sustainable infrastructure for the Canadian Arctic.
The first part of this project is to understand the challenges faced by building owners and dwellers, and to catalogue the main issues with building performance in our community, such as high heating demand and humidity levels, issues with molding and underperforming HRV systems, to name a few. Based on this preliminary research and community engagement, our team defined metrics and parameters of building performance, researched appropriate monitoring strategies, and designed the monitoring plan.
Various sensors will be installed in the buildings and our team will review and analyse the data monthly, for a period of twelve months, to capture all four seasons of building operations. This will include research of the following data points:
● Energy (fuel and electricity) including circuit level monitoring of electrical consumption
● Hot and cold water consumption, water usage characteristics and profiles;
● Thermal transfer and moisture travel through wall assembly
● Insights into current ventilation strategies and HRVs performance (effectiveness of HRV
to recover thermal energy) and their impacts on indoor air quality.
● Relative humidity throughout the house and in venting and sewage stacks, Ice-build up
● Explorations into the relationships between construction method, energy efficiency and
indoor air quality as measured by CO 2 , humidity, particulate matter and other criteria.
● Assessments of occupants’ comfort as a function of consistent temperature throughout
the building and indoor air quality, especially humidity.
● Determination for the ability of newer construction methods and mechanical systems to
maintain optimum humidity levels to provide occupant comfort while avoiding building
performance issues and mold incidence through all arctic seasons.
● Data to better understand the return on investment for choosing high energy efficiency
solutions over business as usual design and construction.
In addition to data collected through the various sensors, the research team will conduct surveys targeting the building occupants and harvest information related to occupants’ energy habits, practices and perceived issues and level of comfort.
Participants in this project are actively involved throughout all phases of the project. They provided inputs at the onset, leading to the adjustment of the monitoring program to capture additional information of interest to them. In addition to being provided with an annual report detailing findings related to the monitoring of their home’s energy performance, participants receive quarterly updates on building performance, and regular meetings designed for data presentation and participant feedback, comments, and questions. Participants will have continuous access to certain sensor data
such as electricity consumption through an online portal that the project team will establish access to.The project team will provide technical support to participants as needed to access and interpret the portals.
Data collected will be analyzed by the research team for research purposes to advance building knowledge and construction methods in Cambridge Bay and Nunavut. Although performance data will be used for research purposes and made publicly available, personal information will be kept confidential; namely, the home performance will not be linked to the name or address of the home-owner. Anonymized performance data will be publicly shared as open data through a customized digital platform being created in partnership with Pinnguaq.
Shared learning and data, partnerships and collaborations help build community resilience. The project team commits to sharing knowledge in broad and lasting ways. This kind of data is rarely, if ever, collected in a small Nunavut community and will be made publicly available through research papers, infographics, workshops, and KHS’s website as well as through articles, social media and other supporting forms of communication.
DELIVERABLES AND OUTCOMES
● Final Report providing 12 month of building performance data with recommendations,
observations, and insights for optimizing building operations. Data gathered from energy
monitoring will be provided to inform and enhance any further energy modelling efforts and whole-building energy analysis.
● The building owners, at their own request, will keep the sensors to keep monitoring their building and understand their consumption.
● Data will be shared with builders in the community and stakeholders such as Public Housing or the Hamlet; this will allow the community to reinforce its knowledge around building consumption.