by Ted Cushman
Time was when buildings in the Far
North weren't much different from
buildings in more moderate climates.
Leaky and underinsulated, they were set
apart only by their heating equipment:
furnaces and boilers powerful enough
to roast a woolly mammoth whole.
Since the 1973 oil crisis, government
and market forces have pushed northern
builders to improve energy efficiency.
Twenty-five years of evolution
and study have produced a radically
different house from the typical home
of the 1960s — tighter, more heavily
insulated, and equipped with advanced
windows and mechanical ventilation.
But the various energy-efficient techniques
have been adopted piecemeal
by builders around the continent, and
there is still plenty of discussion about
what is the "right way" to build.