Sustainable Northern Communities Monitoring

Project Page

Indigenous wisdom. Twenty-first century technology.

Point Lay, AlaskaThe Sustainable Northern Communities program was established in 2008 by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and members of rural communities around Alaska. Alaska’s rural communities have a shortage of housing. The homes are expensive to build, poorly-constructed, and often inadequate for Alaska’s extreme climate. Hundreds of people around the state are collaborating to develop energy efficient and affordable homes that can withstand the extreme climatic conditions of Alaska while reflecting each community’s lifestyle and culture.

The flagship project of the SNS program is the homebuilding work being done in Anaktuvuk Pass.

Newtok/Mertarvik, Point Lay, and Nuiqsut, Alaska also have projects in progress. The key to each project is local residents participating at all levels of design and construction. Using a charette format and meetings at each phase, residents express their interests, wants, and needs for housing. Building on this foundation of community participation, this unique process combines tradition, modern technology, and environmentally-responsible building design. Each project has an emphasis on using efficient, durable materials and energy systems that are specific to each building location. On a broad level, SNS contributes to the vitality of Northern communities at a time when unprecedented energy costs and difficult economic conditions cause hardship. The SNS process results in comfortable, economical, and long-lasting houses that are a natural fit for the people who call them home.

Update: 11/18/09 CCHRC, in partnership with GW Scientific, is now providing live data from the house. Click here to visit our data page.


Building Performance Monitoring
CCHRC partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to study the heating demand, electrical use, and indoor air quality of the Quinhagak and Anaktuvuk Pass prototype homes.
PDF icon Monitoring and Verification of Sustainable Northern Shelter Building Performance Anaktuvuk Pass Prototype House Final Report
PDF icon Monitoring Sustainable Northern Shelter in Anaktuvuk Pass
PDF icon Monitoring and Verification of Sustainable Northern Shelter Building Performance Quinhagak Prototype House Final Report


Alaska Water-Sewer Challenge The Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge looks for innovative, affordable water and sewer solutions for rural households.
Venetie Prototype Home The Venetie teacher housing four-plex uses super-insulated log walls to integrate traditional resources and high-performance building science.
Portable Alternative Sanitation System (PASS) CCHRC worked with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Lifewater Engineering to develop a simple in-home sanitation system for Kivalina to replace hauled water and honey buckets.
Holistic Pilot Project in Oscarville Bringing local communities together with development professionals to tackle the energy, housing, and infrastructure challenges in rural Alaska.
Bethel Aviation Housing CCHRC partnered with the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) to design two duplexes for flight school students in Bethel. The duplexes demonstrate the integrated truss technology and energy efficient building strategies in a hub community, helping to publicly vet these approaches and serve as model homes in the region.