Call Now1.800.265.1914

Understanding the House as a ''System''

December 26, 2016

From a building science perspective, a house is considered a multi-component system, where all of the components are interactive. The building envelope, for example, comprises the roof, walls, and foundation. These components essentially separate the inside of the house from the outside. Mechanical systems are also important components. These comprise heating/cooling equipment; ventilation/exhaust systems; even humidifiers/dehumidifiers. Their task is to properly regulate the indoor temperature of the house, overall air movement, and indoor moisture levels. The way a house is laid out, and the way that residents live in the house, also impacts the system. In short, every component influences and affects the overall performance of the system. Not to forget, a house also interacts with the outside environment - particularly in cases where winters are freezing cold and summers are stifling hot. Sometimes, home renovations can also impact the system, and with unpredictable results. For instance, upgrading insulation without considering ventilation, can affect the operation of the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, air conditioning.) The key for a homeowner is to understand what the professionals call the "house-as-a-system". It means that insulation, air sealing, and ventilation work together to provide optimum operating performance for all of the mechanical systems. In this way, heating/cooling issues are addressed, as well as indoor moisture and air circulation concerns. A contractor who is not accommodating the "house-as-a-system" approach is not adequately achieving home energy goals, and is inviting additional rework and revamp for an unsatisfied homeowner.

The idea behind the "house-as-a-system"

Although the typical homeowner might not understand the nuances of building science, it's still a good idea to understand the basics of the "house-as-a-system". Simply put, on a day-to-day basis, there are three main processes going on inside a house: heat flow; airflow; and moisture flow. All three have a significant affect on the indoor environment: on energy efficiency; on air quality; on resident comfort; even on the structural durability of the house. The key, of course, is to ensure that all three flows are well balanced. If this is the case, the house performs well. If not, problems can ensue, and various retrofits will be necessitated.

Applying the "house-as-a-system" concept

Contractors or renovators who subscribe to the "house-as-a-system" concept can easily identify potential problems early on, and offer viable solutions for the homeowner. This is all done prior to any work being started, and serves to address central issues that may not be readily obvious or apparent. More importantly, the "house-as-a-system" approach ensures the long-term success of any renovation or retrofit, and with far less contractor follow-ups to fix, rework, or redo. For homeowners who are planning to renovate or retrofit, the "house-as-a-system" philosophy makes for a project that is focused on specific objectives, and is well planned. The final result: greater home comfort; enhanced indoor air quality; and dollar savings on seasonal heating and cooling. Professionally undertaken from start to finish, this approach to renovating/retrofitting is purpose-driven, assuring optimum energy efficiency in all parts of the house.

Western Ontario

935 Keyes Drive
Woodstock, Ontario
Canada N4V 1C3

Phone: 1-800-265-1914

Fax: (519) 539-7946
TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Southwestern Ontario

7035 Industrial Drive
Comber, Ontario
Canada N0P 1J0

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Muskoka, Haliburton, Northern Ontario

1027 Elwell Park Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario
Canada P1P 1R1

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Central Ontario

29 Ferndale Industrial Drive
Barrie, Ontario
Canada L4N 9V5

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA East

103 North Port Road
Port Perry, Ontario
Canada L9L 1B2

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA & South Central Ontario

450 Industrial Dr,
Toronto (Milton), Ontario
Canada L9T 5A6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Eastern Ontario

1035 Moodie Dr #1,
Nepean, ON
K2R 1H4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


259 Campbell Street
Sarnia Ontario
Canada, N7T 2H3

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Niagara Region

6260 Don Murie St
Niagara Falls, ON
L2G 0B4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.


Best of 2017

From reputation to responsiveness, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thanks to everyone for the great ratings! 

HomeStars 2018

Best of 2018

For the second year in a row, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thank you again to everyone!

Homestars Best of 2019 Award

Best of 2019

For the third year in a row, HomeStars ranked Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction.

Homestars Best of 2020 Award

Best of 2020

For four years now, HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction.


GNI is the Authorized & Trusted Insulation and Air Sealing Installer for Lowe’s

Enenrgy Savers

Energy Saving

Energy saving and energy efficiency is easier than one might think. Great Northern Insulation helps to identify performance issues, while taking advantage of improvement opportunities.

100% Canadian

100% Canadian

Great Northern Insulation is recognized as Canada's largest full-service insulation contractor. GNI is 100% Canadian owned, proudly serving Ontario customers since 1980.

Foam Masters

Do it right the first time
- with foam mastersTM

WALLTITE® ECO™ is a high-performance system, professionally installed by certified and approved specialists. Its C.C.M.C. approved (Canadian Construction Materials Centre) - with product quality guaranteed - and with installation by highly trained experts with the technical know-how to do the job right, the first time.


Gold Certification promise

GREENGUARD® Gold Certification ensures the strictest criteria for low-level chemical emissions. Certified products are safe for individuals with sensitivities (children/elderly) and safe for use in school environments and health-care facilities. The product certification is widely recognized by the LEED Rating System (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Insulthane Extreme

Insulthane® Extreme

For the ultimate in high performance spray foam insulation, Insulthane® Extreme is the professional choice for residential, commercial, and industrial application. With improved thermal performance over other products, Insulthane® Extreme has an exceptionally low Global Warming Potential (GWP). Considered environmentally friendly, this next generation spray foam insulation is non-ozone depleting, and exceeds specifications of other HFC product alternatives.


Multi-attribute product certification

ECOLOGOTM is an accredited sign of environmental performance – holistic – green – sustainable - and compliant with strict, third party standards. Life cycle criteria for product certification may include manufacturing and operations; health and environment; product materials and performance; and product innovation, development, and management.


3MTM products.
Quality + Performance = Savings

3MTM energy-saving products are designed to keep warm air in, and cold air out, while keeping energy bills down. Products optimize energy efficiency in buildings and homes; improve indoor environment for occupants; and effect the reduction of seasonal energy costs. 3M products are authorized for LEED credits (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).


Baeumler ApprovedTM
Professional, Certified and Insured

Baeumler ApprovedTM gives you peace of mind when connecting with contractors, trades and home service providers. All Baeumler Approved members have demonstrated high quality work for customers and other trade professionals. Members must also have Workers Compensation, liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 and prove professional certification.

Holmes and Holmes

Holmes and Holmes


Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.


Enbridge Incentives

The Energy Conservation Program provides incentives of up to $1,600 to customers who achieve energy efficiency and fuel savings – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.


Great Northern Insulation proudly abides by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct set by RenoMark™.


We are Verified & Bonded by eRenovate. When you choose to proceed with our services through their platform, you receive the gaurantees set forth through their program.

Please, enter a valid value

Incorrect values!