By Miroslava Kavgic, Supervisor
First Nations communities in northern Manitoba are in a great need for affordable, healthy, and sustainable housing. Achieving these goals is not an easy task. This is particularly true in the remote Northern Communities where obtaining building material is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Use of local building materials and training of local population to construct with these materials is essential for building comfortable, high-energy performance homes. Our project’s aim is to develop a healthy, comfortable, sustainable, affordable, durable, and low-maintenance house prototype. Master students will be under my supervision to conduct a pre-construction energy analysis of the house designs that are being proposed in the Wasagamack and Garden Hill First Nation communities. Our work’s scope is to develop a detailed physically based energy model of the house prototype and use it to optimize its envelope elements and systems. For example, we will use our model to investigate and test different passive solar design strategies and systems (e.g. south facing glass, thermal mass, orientation), building envelope material and elements (i.e. insulation, windows). Our attention will be on investigating and testing various low-cost, low-tech and low-maintenance technologies as well as locally available materials. In particular, we will explore the potential for the use of wood fiber as an insulation material.