Cold Climate Technologies for Sustainable Arctic Communities

Organized by the United States Department of Commerce, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Institute of the North 26. August 2016

Sunday, October 9, 16:30-18:30

Location: Skarðsheiði, Harpa Third Level

This session will survey some of the environmental challenges and key technologies that are critical to advancements in the Arctic across multiple sectors, with a special focus on improving access to quality housing in the Arctic.

Speakers will look at how products can be deployed in the extreme temperature and weather and across vast distances for community development, commercial and residential development, scientific research, safety and rescue, and environmental preservation. Participants will examine data, energy, new cold-climate technologies, and what research and development challenges remain.

A portion of the panel be devoted to particular implications for housing policies, which includes the increased need for heating fuel and its high costs in the North. Residents in Arctic regions live in harsh climatic conditions but do not always have centralized access to heating, high quality housing materials or proper insulation. In addition, these regions are increasingly affected by climate change. A number of initiatives focusing on environmental sustainability of communities, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation have emerged in recent years. A key question today is how to scale up these initiatives to ensure they are making a difference in the life of Arctic communities. This panel will present new research on sustainable housing in the Arctic with a focus on design, management, financing, enabling policies and implementation. Speakers will examine the role of governments, experts, communities and other stakeholders in scaling-up best practices and innovative solutions.


  • Gwen Holdmann, Director, Alaska Center for Energy & Power: Lab Services for Remote Micro Grid Technology & Deployment.
  • Larry Cash, FAIA NCARB, President and CEO, RIM Architects of Alaska: Designing for the Arctic Environment.
  • Elizabeth Pierce, CEO, Quintillion Networks: The Role of Data in Development, Both Community and Commercial
  • Nils Andreassen, Executive Director, Institute of the North: Lessons Learned from Alaskan Experience: A Review of Best Practices
  • Suzanne Cassolato, Research Engineer, Natural Resources Canada: Integrating Innovative Technologies into Shelters for Remote Northern Locations
  • Alec Khachatrian, Consultant, IISD: Barriers and Best Practices for Sustainable Housing Delivery Models
  • Lars Nelson, Vice President of UIC Lands, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation: Infrastructure in the Alaskan Arctic - Barrow, Alaska


  • Mead Treadwell, President, PT Capital
  • Melissa Harris, Senior Researcher, IISD