I am a postdoc at the Arctic Technology Centre (ARTEK) in Sisimiut, Greenland. My field of research is indoor climate and energy use in Arctic buildings. I focus mainly on research of energy efficient buildings with mechanical ventilation systems that provide their occupants with good indoor environment despite the harsh Arctic conditions.

In order to strengthen the collaboration between ARTEK and international partners and to exchange knowledge and experience I have undertaken a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska in July 2015. The aim was to visit the Cold Climate Housing Research Centre (CCHRC) that performs research in the same field as I do in Greenland. During the two-week-long stay I was able to meet with colleagues from CCHRC and discuss our recent research.

Sustainable Village
Sustainable Village

I also got a chance to visit some of their latest projects. The Sustainable Village is a group of four energy efficient houses that serves as a dormitory and demonstration of different construction techniques and technologies. In this project, engineering students were involved in the design and construction process as part of their learning. I found this approach very interesting and inspiring for our own teaching.

The second site was a net-zero energy house built by an architect and an engineer (both employees of CCHRC). This house combines great architecture, passive house principles and use of modern technologies to provide its occupants with comfortable and healthy environment and low energy consumption.

Net-zero energy house
Net-zero energy house

The site visits have been a great inspiration for my work as there is significantly less effort put into building energy efficient buildings in Greenland and working examples are missing.

While in Fairbanks I was also asked to give a lecture on ventilation in cold climates to the group of local home owners and builders. There were over 30 attendees, and the lecture was received very well. The discussion at the end brought some new research questions and ideas.

Last, I had a meeting with the international office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where we discussed possibilities of student and staff exchange between our institutions. The new possibility we offer at ARTEK from 2016 - International semester in Greenland was of particular focus.

The entire stay has enriched me both professionally and personally. I received valuable inputs to my research and created contacts with professionals and researchers from my field.

There was also time to explore a little bit of the great state which was much appreciated. With a borrowed American truck I drove around to Denali national park and McCarthy copper mine to see the beauties of Alaskan nature.

- Martin Kotol, PhD