RDH provided comprehensive building enclosure consulting for two completed facilities: a single-storey, 950 m2 Health and Wellness Centre and a two-storey 10-plex housing unit covering approximately 1,000 m2. The primary objectives for both structures were to achieve a 25% and 35% reduction in energy consumption, respectively, compared to the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) 2017 baseline, reflecting a steadfast commitment to advancing energy efficiency in construction.

Given the extreme cold climate in which these facilities are situated and the steel typology of the building, special attention was required to mitigate the risk of rapid heat loss.  Using state of the art thermal analysis software, the project team actively addressed the unique thermal characteristics of steel structures, enhancing overall thermal performance and mitigating issues such as frost and condensation risks. This was particularly critical for steel pilings essential in permafrost conditions, where thermal modeling was employed to minimize frost and condensation risks, ensuring long-term structural integrity.

In cold climates where temperature differentials can be extreme, maintaining a high level of air tightness is paramount for both building durability and energy efficiency. It serves as a vital barrier against heat loss and infiltration of cold air, significantly contributing to the reduction in energy consumption and enhancing the overall performance of the building envelope. The final air tightness tests for both buildings surpassed any building previously tested by RDH in Northern Canada, marking it as one of the tightest buildings in Canada. This outstanding air tightness is recognized as a key determinant in the energy performance design of these buildings.

This project demonstrates successful incorporation of advanced thermal modeling, particularly addressing steel structures in extreme cold conditions, and the achievement of remarkable air tightness levels reinforcing the commitment to meeting and surpassing energy efficiency targets. This approach aligns with stringent energy standards and underscores the broader importance of durability and resilience in buildings tailored for extreme climates.


December 4, 2023


Northern Front Studio, DKBG, Ketza Construction Corporation

Our Role:

Building Enclosure Consultant

Key Services

Design Development
Field Review
Measurement and Verification
Design Construction Documents Review
Construction Document Review
Failure Analysis & Testing

We focus on the details and the interfaces between them. Our expertise comes in our appreciation for the construction process and the interaction between materials and assemblies provided by varied design and construction team members.  We combine formal and informal consultation to support the design team in identifying and articulating integration of the building enclosure assemblies. Our review also includes identification of additional details needed to convey the design intent.

Graham Finch | Dipl.T., M.A.Sc., P.Eng.

Principal, Senior Building Science Specialist
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Robin Urquhart | MBSc., CEA

Senior Project Consultant
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Yukon Cold Climate Heat Pump Field Study

RDH has a long history of monitoring buildings to better understand their performance. From building enclosures to energy performance to indoor environmental quality, long-term monitoring provides invaluable insight into the way things actually behave out in the real world.

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RDH Building Science