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Cold Climate Design

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General Information

Designing and maintaining structures in cold-climates poses challenges unique to those environments. The extreme cold, as well as remoteness, limited utilities, permafrost, and temperature shifts all test the endurance of the built environment. This website, as well as the book upon which it is based, endeavors to equip designers, architects, and building systems managers with the tools to maintain buildings in cold climates efficiently and sustainably.

About the Cold-Climate Buildings Design Guide

The Cold-Climate Buildings Design Guide was published in 2015 by a consortium of cold-climate design experts. Topics including sustainability, controls, commissioning, and case studies are discussed in depth throughout its 11 chapters and appendix. The book serves as a comprehensive guide for the buildings professional with little to no experience in construction in cold climates.


Geography, temperature, wind, heating degree days, and humidity are all weather factors that, in addition to the extreme cold found in arctic and subarctic climates, significantly impact the ability for engineers to construct long-lasting buildings. See Chapters 1, 5, and 9 in the Cold-Climate Buildings Design Guide for detailed descriptions of weather concerns.