Designs for Rural Alaska Walls

CCHRC has used spray polyurethane foam insulation to build affordable demonstration homes in rural Alaska since 2009. While spray foam has a high insulation value and competitive shipping cost, it requires skill to install and any errors can result in a drastic drop in energy efficiency of the building. This project will allow CCHRC to  evaluate some of the existing homes in rural Alaska for moisture infiltration, including Quinhagak and Bethel. CCHRC will also evaluate additional insulation materials and wall designs that could be developed for new homes in rural Alaska. The project will result in detail drawings of new envelope options and a 4 page report to share with rural communities and other stakeholders.

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Projects

Structural Insulated Panels Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are prefabricated building materials used in residential construction in Alaska. This project prepared resources for homeowners who want to learn about SIPs, where they are used in cold climates, and considerations for Alaska.
Safe Effective Affordable Retrofits Testing a new batch of wall systems that can provide affordable retrofit options.
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) in Cold Climates Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) are whole house ventilation systems that exchange stale indoor air with fresh outside air, recovering both heat and moisture from the indoor air to save energy. They could help improve indoor air quality in a cold dry climate like Interior Alaska.
Thermal Mass Study Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy, which can be useful when it comes to cold climate housing. This project clarifies the role of thermal mass in housing and includes a literature review and energy modeling with IDA Indoor Climate and Energy (ICE) software.
Permafrost Foundations CCHRC is working with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory to study ways of pairing information on permafrost soils with optimal foundation designs.