New Habitat homes go SuperGreen

Whitehorse residents packed into a construction project at 810 Wheeler Street yesterday. It was a brisk minus 16 degrees outside, but with a few little space heaters and all of that body heat the room started to become warm - a little too warm for some and, to be honest, a little stuffy.

Whitehorse residents packed into a construction project at 810 Wheeler Street yesterday.

It was a brisk minus 16 degrees outside, but with a few little space heaters and all of that body heat the room started to become warm – a little too warm for some and, to be honest, a little stuffy.

Air-exchange units had yet to be installed and the Triplex’s SuperGreen construction meant the place was extremely well insulated and sealed up tight.

Nobody seemed to mind – in fact, those who noticed were kind of impressed.

The triplex was the Phoenix Rising project, the latest endeavour for Yukon Habitat for Humanity.

And if you’re going to build affordable housing, you might as well make it affordable to heat in the winter.

“It’s been just one of those rare projects in which all parties agree that they’re going to work together to do whatever they can to reach the goal,” said Todd Hardy, president of Yukon Habitat for Humanity.

“This would never have materialized without the support of Yukon Housing and the minister, Mr. Kenyon, has been completely behind this project.”

Yukon College also played a big part, using the project as an educational tool for carpentry students.

Those students framed the entire building right up from the foundations and, even though eight of them recently graduated, many plan to return to volunteer their time to see the project through to the end.

“I’d also give credit to the family member that was a trustee who agreed to sell the property to us because of the tragedy of what was there before,” said Hardy.

“It’s been a place that I’ve known about for 20 years as a drug house and it’s nice to know that three families are now going to have brand new homes and contribute to the downtown community.”

The former owner, who inherited the house after her mother passed away, sold it to Habitat for below market value.

“She wanted people to remember it in a different light.”

When people think of the infamous address from now on, they may think of energy efficiency rather than drug dealing.

The triplex was also built to what is known as the SuperGreen energy standard.

Visitors to the project yesterday noticed the extra thick walls packed with insulation.

This extra insulation gave the walls an insulating R-value of 60.

For those not in the construction business, building standards down south require an R-value of 20 and an R-2000 home (considered to be the standard in energy efficiency and environmental responsibility) generally has an R-value of 28.

On top of this thick insulation, the homes have double-door entries to prevent heat loss.

And the house is using Quad-Pane windows, the first of their kind, from Northerm Windows.

Each window has four panes of glass, which insulates nearly as well as a normal wall.

The project is currently about a third of the way through, said Hardy.

“I’m hoping that we’re going to be doing a lot more in the future.”

Those interested in lending a hand with this or future projects can visit Habitat’s website at www.habitatyukon.org.

Contact Chris Oke at

chriso@yukon-news.com