Identify Your Climate
COLD- 6A, 6B, 7, 8

Cold climates include those known as the tundra, taiga, or alpine. These climates are typically found close to the poles and include the majority of Canada, northern Europe, and Northern Asia. In addition, cold climates can be found at high altitudes in any region of the world. Cold climates typically have long, dark winter seasons with short days; however they can experience large seasonal temperature swings and very warm summers. Snow and ice accumulations are a concern in most cold climates.

The primary design concern in cold climates is preventing heat loss through the building envelope or due to infiltration.  Proper insulation, increased thermal mass, and minimal air changes are vital. Snow drift and ice melt/refreeze can cause challenges for designers. Solar shading devices, solar panels, triple glazing and increased insulation can all lead to increased snow and ice accumulation compared to traditional construction techniques because of the lack of heat transfer from the interior of the building[1]. Daylighting is important in cold climates and direct sunlight can provide passive heating. While cold climates require heating in the winter, some also require cooling in summer. Because of this temperature inversion, ideally, assemblies must be carefully designed to address moisture movement from both the interior and the exterior.