You think it’s cold here …

While this past week has given most of us across Canada a reprieve, there is no doubt that throughout December and early January we all suffered from some very bone-chilling weather. Still, and this may be hard to believe, it could have been worse. Imagine living in Antarctica where temperatures can reach -90 Celsius. Perhaps even harder to imagine would be living in the harsh climate of Antarctica in a home that is only heated by sunlight, body heat, and waste heat from electrical appliances. However, advances in building technology and science have made this possible.

The Princess Elisabeth Station scientific research facility is a “passive” building. Passive buildings and homes are designed to have very little to no energy demand for space heating or cooling. (Compare this to the average Canadian home where approximately 63% of the energy used is for space heating.) The design of Quik-Therm products are based on the same building science as the Princess Elisabeth Station.

The “envelope” of the Princess Elisabeth Station is made up of nine different layers of insulators and water and air barriers. What makes this insulation system work is that it is air-and-water tight. Even a pinprick sized hole in its air and water barriers would compromise the building envelope’s insulation layers (woollen felt and low density polystyrene).

Holes in the air barriers of a building allow cold air (drafts) and outside moisture to blow through or get into insulating materials. Because of differences in air pressure, holes in air barriers also allow warm air to flow out of a building. This is a real problem because this warm air contains moisture that condenses (forms water droplets) as the air cools. (Up to 30 litres of water per heating season can condense out of warm interior air as it passes through a 2×2 cm hole in an air barrier (from These water droplets are absorbed by porous insulating materials such as fibreglass batt insulation which if it stays wet 1) diminishes the material’s insulating abilities, and 2) promotes mold growth. (Read more.)

Quik-Therm has designed its insulation products to counter these problems. First, they are all made of closed-cell expanded polystyrene (EPS), which does not absorb moisture. Second, they are all covered with a reflective polymer facer which, when properly installed, acts as an air, vapour, and radon barrier. On the outside of your home, install Quik-Therm T&G Connect under your exterior siding to significantly improve the air-tightness of your home. Below ground, Quik-Therm CIS is ideal for insulating basement walls. Its tongue and groove connections are designed to keep outside moisture from entering your basement. At the same time, its EPS core and reflective surface keep the heat in and the mold out of your basement.

Use Quik-Therm products and bring into your home the insulation science that makes living in Antarctica comfortable while using little energy.