Atlas Roofing is supporting a group of Canadian-based wildlife biologists this summer on their expedition to study the whale and dolphin species of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Led by Katy Gavrilchuk and David Gaspard, in association with a non-profit organization, The Mingan Island Cetacean Study, the expedition will focus on the long-term monitoring of large baleen whales on an important summer feeding ground. With the assistance of donations from Atlas Roofing and several other companies, Katy and David were able to build an environmentally sound tiny home that will serve as their mobile research base. It will assist in their expedition, while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.
“This expedition is truly one of a kind and Atlas is very excited to be a part of this innovative project,” said Tom Robertson, wall insulation business manager for Atlas. “What Katy and David are doing with their mobile research base is both smart and unique. We can’t wait to see what they are able to achieve in both their studies and in the name of environmental awareness with the help of the tiny house.”
Background on the Expedition
Studying mammals, such as dolphins and whales, requires the ability to move at any time in order to properly observe and track these amazing creatures. In the biologists’ previous expeditions, that level of flexibility was not economically or plausibly feasible. In addition, the biologists had a desire to raise awareness of the consequences of global consumption and reduce their own personal impact on the environment while still accomplishing their research.
In order to address these issues, they came up with the idea of constructing a tiny house on wheels, giving them the ability to overcome the logistical obstacles of studying mammals on the move, while also raising environmental awareness.
Building the Tiny House
For Katy and David’s tiny house, they developed a set of criteria for the products used in the construction and one of the most important was that the supplier companies be eco-conscious.
The wildlife biologists found that Atlas products are highly energy efficient, water and fire resistant and are manufactured with sustainable processes.
While the environmental aspect of the tiny homes insulation was important, Atlas had to meet other criteria as well including:
- High thermal resistance: A smaller space can lose heat quickly and the tiny home needed to be used in varying weather and temperature conditions.
- Lightweight: Since the tiny house would be attached to a trailer, the biologists had to respect the maximum load capacity and save weight where they could.
After the wildlife biologists determined Atlas met their needs both environmentally and logistically, EnergyShield PRO foam boards were installed in the building envelope. EnergyShield PRO wall insulation features a high R-value, Class A durable aluminum facer that also serves as a water resistive barrier, all helpful qualities for the tiny house. In addition, the insulation boards hold a Class A fire rating and can be used for exterior CI for installation over concrete, wood, wood stud and more. Because of size constraints, it was important to get the greatest insulation value possible from the few inches of space that could be allocated to insulation. With an R-value of 6.5 per inch, the highest available in the market, EnergyShield PRO was able to provide a total R-value of 22 in a 3.5 inch product. Overall, it took the wildlife biologists four days to install the Atlas insulation, and the tiny house was completed in June.
The 670-mile expedition began in early June, and the field season will last until September 2016. The journey to the whales will begin in Montreal, where the biologists will be stopping along the way in Quebec City, Tadoussac, Baie Comeau and Sept-Iles. The journey to the Gulf of St. Lawrence will serve two purposes: raise public awareness about living sustainably and ecologically, as well as monitoring for whales along the north coast of the Gulf.