Master's students Daniel Baril and Ahmad Kayello told CBC's Daybreak they hope their prototypes will offer a practical solution for the North's unique needs.
In order to deal with the short building season, the team has come up with houses that fit together like “Lego pieces.”
Baril, who is from Quebec’s northern community of Kuujjuaq, is in charge of field testing and monitoring the prototypes they have set up in Kuujjuaq and Nunavut.
The pair is also using Concordia University’s environmental chamber to test out their work.
“It’s basically a big refrigerator, it goes down to -40C and we have a test hut built in there and we can do different experiments,” Baril said.
One of the issues the team has been focusing on is fine powder snow, called icing sugar snow, which can filter through the smallest cracks and harm the building structure.
“Up north you have all this fine snow ... it’s so fine that any cracks, even unintentional [ones] in your doors … it can get in and accumulate,” Kayello said.
To prevent the leaks, the students are trying to seal off the attics, but that brings up other problems.
“We’re trying to see if we can completely seal these attics ... and then there’s also a chance of moisture problems because of the moist air getting in and not being able to escape. So there are drawbacks to both venting and unventing," Kayello said.
For more about the engineering project, watch the video below.