Yukon Housing Corporation

Energy Efficient Heating

Safe and Healthy Home

Building a New Home

Retrofitting an Existing Home

Home Maintenance

Building Science Links

Retrofitting an Existing Home

Upgrading your older home may provide improved comfort, functionality, aesthetic appeal and reduced maintenance demands.

Improving home safety with the National Building Code

The NBC is the standard to which dwellings must be constructed for safety, reliability and systems standardization. Yukon has adopted the NBC with supplementary laws or regulations to the requirements in the national code, 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
General information on the December 21, 2012 Amendments
National Building Code Conforming Example Diagrams


Local Code

The City of Whitehorse Energy Conservation Bylaw stipulates minimum insulation 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

View the list of City of Whitehorse certified verifiers (to verify compliance with the City’s Green Building Standards)


Home Safety

Some components of a house wear out faster than others due to design limitations, exposure to the elements, engineered lifespans and other influences. 

Wooden components exposed to the weather will decompose over time and could become serious safety hazards. Also be alert for nails rising up from flooring and steps which may create tripping hazards.

Rain gutters, downspouts and drainage tiles are other items that should also be closely inspected to determine if they should be repaired or replaced.

Rain and snow melt drainage may have affected the foundation causing uneven settling of the structure, producing cracks in walls and ceilings, creaks in flooring and doors and windows that do not open or close properly. Structural damages to the house can be very serious and should be corrected before any other work is performed.


Get a Permit

Some home maintenance projects may require a permit and follow-up inspection to confirm the job was completed properly. The City of Whitehorse Bylaw and the Yukon government Building Safety Branch can advise when building permits are required.

When considering retrofitting your home, look at the whole house and determine what needs to be replaced or repaired. If you are unsure of what to check for, contact a building professional to examine your home and recommend improvements. They will often recommend how to achieve the best return for your upgrading investment, and how best to address any critical safety deficiencies that may be present in your home.

Replacing older appliances such as hot water tanks, refrigerators, stoves, washers and driers provides an opportunity to install newer models with improved energy efficiency and performance characteristics, and some offer additional features as well.

Learn more from the Energy Solutions Centre.


Windows and Doors

High-efficiency windows and doors offer significant improvements in solar control, thermal comfort and energy savings compared to older models. They do this by incorporating low-E coatings, inert gas fills, and better edge spacers and frames.

NRC guide to modern windows and doors


Electrical Systems

The National Building Code now stipulates that AC wall receptacle sockets located in bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors must be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) in order to maintain safety.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) can help prevent electrocution inside and outside the home. GFCIs are an effective means of protecting against electrical shock; however, they must be tested regularly to verify they are working properly.


Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV)

A Heat Recovery Ventilator , (HRV) is a devise designed to exchange stale moist air with clean oxygenated fresh air while minimizing heat loss during the exchange process. An HRV is now a municipal bylaw requirement (section 88) for all new homes constructed in Whitehorse.

Check out these videos to lear more about HRV systems:


Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The NBC now stipulates that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are required on each floor of a house. These are to be hard-wired (non-battery powered), and interconnected to each other so that if one alarm sounds, they all will to ensure the alarm is heard. As of April 2013 every home in Yukon is required by law to be equipped with smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors.


Combustion air supply for fuel burning heating appliances.

Regardless of the fuel type used to heat your home, the NBC states that fresh combustion air be supplied to the appliance. Combustion gases will be produced as the fuel burns. Normally, these combustion products — which can include both visible smoke and various invisible gases —must be vented to the outdoors through a chimney or vent pipe. If the heating system is not properly balanced with the volume of incoming combustion air equal to or greater than outgoing exhaust from the furnace, these exhaust gases may instead spill into your home, where they could cause critical health and safety dangers.

Combustion spillage  is the term used to describe the unwanted flow of combustion gases into your home. The quantities involved are usually small. However, the number of houses with potentially significant spillage is increasing, and on occasion the results can be extremely serious. It is important to have annual inspections by qualified technicians of fuel-burning heating systems to ensure continued safety and heating efficiency.


A replacement heating system

The situation in some older homes finds the furnace may be performing adequately, but the home is not insulated well enough so that comfort is not what it should be and the cost of heating the home is high. Adding more insulation and sealing the house better could provide the desired improvements at a much lower cost than replacing the furnace.

Each home is different in a number of ways, which is why an energy assessment is recommended before undertaking any energy-related improvements so that you can invest where the benefits will be greatest. The Energy Solutions Centre offers a rebate for energy assessments.

View CMHC's publication on replacing your furnace.

Watch a video on Energy Assessments.

View a list of energy advisors in Yukon .


Choosing a new heating system

Following the Home Energy Assessment performed on your house you should have a better understanding of what is required to improve your home heating performance.

Find out more about energy efficient heating in Yukon.

View CMHC’s publication on replacing your furnace.