Energy-efficient and Culturally Appropriate

The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative supports communities to participate in the Ultra-Energy Efficient, Culturally Appropriate New Homes program.  This project helps:

  • Build beautiful and culturally-appropriate homes that don’t damage the environment
  • Improve housing policies requiring new homes to be built to the highest standards
  • Build pride by engaging community members in decisions about how energy efficient homes will be designed and communities developed
  • Create small economies in green home building and maintenance, and milling and dry kiln industries for lumber production

Improving Existing Homes

Many homes can significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs with basic upgrades. This project supports communities to improve the performance of existing homes by:

  • Offering energy audits of homes and buildings to understand what upgrades are necessary
  • Seeking resources to provide upgrades when necessary
  • Providing energy efficiency upgrades to communities where resources are available
  • Training local contractors to undertake energy upgrades to houses when needed

Coastal Community Initiatives

In Bella Coola, the Nuxalk Nation is working hard to redefine First Nations home building to suit its economic, social and cultural needs. This long-term vision includes supporting construction careers for single men and women with children who cannot afford to move away from families and community to go to school.

The Nation has partnered with Camosun College to train 28 Nuxalkmc people in apprenticeships in carpentry, joinery, door-making, plumbing, heating and electrical. The Nuxalk have built six highly energy-efficient homes and are working to share their knowledge with, and build homes for other Coastal First Nations communities.

On Haida Gwaii, the Skidegate Band Council has been replacing diesel furnaces with electric heat pumps – an initiative that has reduced community member energy bills from $250 to $80 a month.

Residential Construction Specification Guide – Wet Wet Coast

See our Residential Construction Specification Guide for building efficient homes in the Wet Wet Coast.

This work would not have been possible without the vision and leadership of Nuxalk Hereditary Chief Smawn (Richard Hall), who works to create healthy sustainable homes for First Nations communities.

By replacing diesel furnaces with electric heat pumps, Skidegate has reduced household energy bills from $250 to $80 a month.

New Housing Guide

A primer for building culturally appropriate, high-performance homes in the Great Bear Region