Current ventilation strategies in Greenlandic dwellings

Martin Kotol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The Arctic winters are long and cold. When temperatures drop deep below freezing point, the occupants of Arctic dwellings become hesitant to opening windows in order to avoid cold draught. Natural vents are typically sealed. Mechanical ventilation is either not existing or comprises of bathroom fan and range hood. Air tightening of the building envelope to prevent draught results in a lack of makeup air for the extraction fans. This leads to further reduction of air change in majority of the dwellings. One consequence is poor indoor air quality. The other may be moisture levels high enough to damage the construction. The current Greenlandic building code does not require use of complex ventilation systems. Lack of experience and requirements together with higher construction costs will typically cause ruling the complex mechanical ventilation systems out of the projects and replacing them by bare minimum. In this project we mapped, three ventilation solutions. Two renovations and one new home. The measurements have shown that the IAQ (evaluated based on CO2 and humidity measurements and occupant interviews) had improved significantly with use of balanced mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. The occupants have reported increase in their comfort. The systems were capable of continuous operation throughout the Arctic winter. Installation of the mechanical ventilation had proved to be an efficient solution to IAQ problem in Greenland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102283
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • IAQ
  • HVAC
  • Energy
  • Buildings
  • Cold climates


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