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Building a new home

Factors to consider when building your own home:

  • Financial ability
  • House design
  • Energy efficiency
  • Contracting

Homes built in Yukon may require special design requirements. Keep an open mind in order to accept the basic building science principles which need to be practiced in our northern environment.


National Building Code

The National Building Code (NBC) is the standard to which dwellings must be constructed for safety, reliability and systems standardization.

Yukon has adopted the NBC often with supplementary laws or regulations to the requirements in the national standards, however the City of Whitehorse has a local code governing construction within its boundaries.

Visit the NRC website to request a copy of the NBC

Designer/Builder information package 
National Building Code Conforming Example Diagrams 


City of Whitehorse local code

The City of Whitehorse Energy Conservation Bylaw stipulates minimum R values in new home construction. These apply to all new buildings and additions that are heated except residential accessory buildings such as sheds and detached garages.

Visit City of Whitehorse Green Building Standards 

City of Whitehorse certified home verifiers in Yukon


Design

When selecting a design for a new home, consider how livability, energy consumption and the long-term sustainability of the dwelling will be affected.

Keep in mind accessibility considerations depending on the dwelling's occupants; single floor plans are often preferred for elderly or infirm homeowners. Accessibility also includes placement of light switches and similar household controls for ease of use from wheelchairs.

View YHC's Accessibility Standards Guide for more information.

 


 

Energy efficient living

Efficiency refers to the least heat loss per square foot of house. An energy advisor can assess your home to help you determine which heating system will best accomodate your needs.

View the list of certified energy advisors in Yukon 

Basic principles of energy efficiency in modern homes:

  • Size – The smaller the dwelling, the less area there is to heat. Higher ceilings, extra halls and low-use areas add to heating loads.
  • Shape – As the shape of your design becomes more rectangular and with additional sections, the wall area to inside space ratio is increased. 
  • Windows – To minimize window heat loss try to choose designs where most windows are south facing to allow for solar gain. Choose window units designed for optimum energy conservation for your house.
  • Air leakage – Simple air leakage can account for a large portion of total heat loss. The house envelope needs to be well-sealed so ventilation can be controlled.
  • Ventilation – Ventilation is the exchange of stale air inside the house with fresh air from outside.

Super-Green Homes - Yukon owners and builders talk about living in energy-efficient housing.


Air exchange

Fresh air is brought in from outside and supplied to the areas of the house where people spend most of their time, like the bedrooms and living areas. Proper ventilation is your best assurance against costly moisture and mold problems and related health problems due to poor indoor air quality.

The supply and exhaust air flows must be balanced, or equal, to avoid pressurizing or depressurizing the house. An unbalanced pressure condition can have serious negative impacts on the house and/or the heating appliances.

 

View the NRC's publication on HRV systems

Check out these YHC videos for more on HRV systems:


Insulation

The design of the building envelope determines your heat retention efficiency.

Thermal bridging is the solid section of wood that runs continually (bridges) from the warm interior side of the wall or floor, through the wall to the outside cold surface. Extra heat energy is lost through this solid wood bridging. 

Houses in the north require much more envelope insulation that those in warmer southern climates. Insulation is expressed in R value; aim for a high R value in your building envelope (roof, walls, doors, windows and foundation) to increase the energy efficiency of the building envelope.

Find out more about R values and the building envelope


Heating system

Most oil and gas fired heating appliances operate in the 75 – 90% efficiency range, so there are no huge efficiency advantages with regards to which type of appliance you choose. The big energy savings is in the reduction of heat loss from the envelope of your house.

Heat loss calculations have shown that most fuel-fired heating appliances are oversized for the heating needs of most houses; this is particularly true for energy efficient houses. A furnace or boiler that is oversized for the dwelling will run inefficiently and use more fuel than necessary.

Electric heat can be sized to match the smaller heating needs of energy efficient housing, It is one of the most reliable forms of heat, has no maintenance issues and does not have the exhaust gas spillage potential that fuel-fired appliances possess.

Find out more about heating system options in Yukon


Contractors

The range of experience and professionalism amongst contractors can be broad. Some contractors may be more willing to accommodate your special needs; others have standardized their methods and designs and are more set in their ways.

When you contact a contractor, ask for references and check those references as those clients have forged this path before you and learned many lessons along the way. Your relationship with your contractor can make or break your project so you want to choose a builder whose construction methods and housing ideals suit you best.


Education

Yukon Housing Corporation in cooperation with Yukon College offers a free homeowner's self help course to assist interested individuals to manage their construction projects.

This course is especially valuable for first-time builders. In the course you will be shown how to manage finances, planning, and trades people. You will gain knowledge to help guide you to make all those decisions which need to be made on your house construction project.

To find out more about the homeowner's self help course, please call 867-667-5759.


New home financing

Yukon Housing Corporation offers mortgages for new home construction. Learn more by calling 667-5759 and speak with one of our Financial Program Officers.


Ask the experts

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