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Air Source Heat Pumps in Southeast Alaska

ASHPs take heat from the outdoor air and use electricity to raise the temperature. Because they require less electricity than electric heating appliances, heat pumps could reduce heating costs for Southeast residents.

ARIS Development CCHRC manages the Alaska Retrofit Information System (ARIS) for AHFC. ARIS is a database of information on housing size, cost, energy use, and more for over 75,000 housing units in Alaska. It can be used as a tool for planning housing and energy policies and programs.
Combustion Safety Test Failure Analysis This project investigates why buildings fail the combustion safety test and how to avoid these failures, in both new construction and retrofits. It includes a literature review, preliminary data analysis, education video, project planning, and test protocol prove-out.
Durable Envelopes for Cold Climates

CCHRC is developing and testing building envelope designs that can withstand cold climates and healthy indoor humidity levels. The Mobile Test Lab has nine test wall bays, each with a different configuration of studs and insulation—including a control wall with fiberglass batt insulation.

Fairbanks Nonprofit Retrofit Pilot This pilot project helps Alaska nonprofits save money by making their buildings more energy efficient. The goal is to help the nonprofit sector substantially reduce its energy costs so organizations can spend more on their mission.
Ground Source Heat Pump & Solar Thermal at Weller School

CCHRC and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power conducted the first in-depth assessment of ground source heat pumps in Alaska. We studied a system at a local elementary school that uses warmth from the ground to heat the building, and recharges the soil with solar energy in the summer.

Ground Source Heat Pump Demonstration at CCHRC CCHRC is testing a ground source heat pump at its facility in Fairbanks, part of a goal to shift to all renewable sources of energy and test the long-term performance of heat pumps in a subarctic climate.
tnha house North Slope Housing Prototypes CCHRC is working with Tagiugiullu Nunamiullu Housing Authority to design homes in six North Slope villages. The homes feature a unique foundation system designed for the permafrost conditions in the high arctic.
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.
Residential Indoor Air Quality Study This project looks at new ventilation standards and recent IAQ research findings in ventilation to help inform homebuilders, architects, engineers, and other housing professionals.
Sustainable Northern Communities Monitoring

The Sustainable Northern Communities program aims to develop energy efficient, affordable, healthy housing that fits the climate and culture of Alaska communities. SNC brings together local residents, tribal governments, state and federal agencies, housing authorities, and other partners. CCHRC monitors the prototype homes to troubleshoot and improve designs.

Three-Stage HRV Evaluation CCHRC is working with Fairbanks builder Thorsten Chlupp to study a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) with a ground-loop to preheat ventilation air.
Vapor Diffusion-Open Walls Study

CCHRC monitored builder Thorsten Chlupp’s super low-energy home to see how the innovative systems performed in the Fairbanks climate. The house has super-insulated walls and foundation, an integrated heat storage system, and an open wall design that allows vapor to diffuse through.

Closed or Under Review

2014 Alaska Housing Assessment This report is an overview of the current characteristics of Alaska's housing stock at many levels: statewide, by region, census area, and community.
4-5 Star Plus Energy Rated Homes Survey & Analysis

Ivan Moore Research (IMR) of Anchorage conducted a customer survey of Four Plus and Five-Star Plus homes to determine customer satisfaction and understanding of building components.

bruno house 6-Star Green Program Development

CCHRC outlined a program to add 6th Star to the home rating system, which included an AkWarm energy analysis and a green building analysis a national standard for energy efficiency.

AKWarm Modernization and Improvements CCHRC contracted with Arctic Energy Systems to develop computer software that calculates the design heating load of a home in order to properly size a home heating system. The free online program can be used by contractors and homeowners to model and plan the components of their house.
Anaktuvuk Pass Prototype Home

CCHRC worked with the community of Anaktuvuk Pass in 2009 to design and construct an affordable, energy efficient, healthy home that incorporated indigenous elements like earth-berming and a sod roof. The design drives down construction and energy costs and fits the local climate and culture.

Anchorage Foundation Insulation Study

Read the full report 

Atmautluak Prototype Home

CCHRC worked with the Atmautluak Traditional Co

atqasuk Atqasuk Prototype Home In 2010 CCHRC worked with the Tagiugiullu Nunamiullu Housing Authority and residents of Atqasuk to create a design for an affordable, energy efficient, and healthy home that reflects the people and place of Atqasuk. TNHA constructed three of the prototype homes.
BEES Studies CCHRC conducts economic analyses of AHFC's energy efficiency standards, known as Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES). This looks at the construction costs and maintenance costs of meeting the standards and quantifies the savings in areas like energy, heath, and safety.
Buckland Prototype Home

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Chukchi Campus invited CCHRC to be part of a team designing affordable and sustainable housing in rural Alaska. The partnership includes the UAF Chukchi Campus, Northwest Inupiaq Housing Authority, the Native Village of Buckland (BKC), and a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The design team worked with residents to plan an affordable...

Building America in Alaska A "Building America in Alaska" team of building industry professionals from across the state worked with cold climate experts to develop plans for energy efficient, durable, healthy, and cost effective homes affordable to moderate income Alaskans
Building Usage Data System (BUDS) Projects

We produced a data collection and usage visualization package designed to be the standard for energy raters and auditors in Alaska.

Combustion Air/CO Study

This study looked at how homeowners provide combustion air for atmospherically vented appliances and assessed the performance of power-vented appliances.

Crooked Creek Prototype Home CCHRC designed a prototype house for Crooked Creek, a small Kuskokwim village, after flooding destroyed 10 homes in May 2011. The unique design used a single truss system and emphasized energy efficient, affordable, flexible, and quick construction in a remote location. The homes were replaced in the span of four months with the help of many organizations and volunteers. CCHRC is working with the...
Domestic Hot Water Energy Modeling

This project focuses on how to get the most whole house efficiency out of your domestic hot water system, looking at both storage tank and tankless systems to see how to maximize efficiency through insulating or other means.

Energy Efficiency Program & Policy Recommendations

This project is a comprehensive review and analysis of the energy efficiency policies and programs in the State of Alaska. The final report was completed in 2008 and many of the recommendations were implemented.

st. michael school Energy Use in Alaska's Public Facilities

This is the first in-depth picture of the energy use of Alaska public buildings based on comprehensive energy audits of 327 public facilities. The average building can save $25,000 per year on energy just by modest investments in efficiency.

chimney smoke Evaluating Residential Heating Systems

This project measured the design heat load of houses by monitoring the runtime of the furnace in relation to outdoor temperatures. The study monitored 20 houses in the Anchorage area during very cold weather to better determine appropriate heating system sizing for the HVAC industry.

air exchange Evaluating Ventilation Systems & IAQ

CCHRC monitored 100 homes in 3 different climatic regions for relative humidity, particulates, and VOC's. The goal was to provide an evaluation of the extent to which ventilation strategies, house characteristics, location, and other factors affected indoor air quality.

Evaluating Window Insulation

CCRHC tested eight types of common window insulation treatments during a Fairbanks winter to see how they handled heat loss and moisture buildup. Exterior insulation methods, like shutters and storm windows, tended to perform the best and have the fewest condensation problems.

Foam Moisture Study

This project enables CCHRC to establish a method for measuring the moisture content of foam insulation to better evaluate building science issues of insulation products.

Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation Study

Frost-protected shallow foundations rely on placing enough insulation outside of a shallow foundation to protect it from heaving due to seasonal freezing. Temperature sensors were installed at two houses with these foundations to measure the thermal regime of the soil.

dipping fuel tank Fuel Use Monitoring

Researchers are testing several methods of monitoring fuel use at the household level to identify a cost-effective and accurate method for monitoring heating oil consumption across Alaska.

Geopolymer Cements

CCHRC did a high level analysis of the local market potential for geopolymer cements, including an assessment of available local materials, potential of local product manufacturing, and potential economic feasibility.

Green Infrastructure

Designs for 10 systems that home owners can implement to reduce rainwater and pollutant runoff from their property, which were demonstrated at homes throughout Fairbanks.

Health House VOC Monitoring

CCHRC collected data on Volatile Organic Compounds in various new homes in Fairbanks and Juneau to assess the effect of different ventilation strategies on indoor air quality.

Healthy Homes in Alaska The purpose of this program was to demonstrate cost-effective, preventative measures to correct health hazards in the homes that lead to serious upper respiratory illness in children. It also addressed how changes in indoor air quality affected the health of residents.
Heating Appliance Use Survey This project observed actual patterns of wood heating appliance use at twelve homes in Fairbanks to quantify the amount of wood heating compared to other heating sources.
Hybrid Micro-Energy Project This project was designed to explore and demonstrate how a variety of renewable energy sources can be integrated to power single- and multi-family housing energy demands in Alaska.
insulating paint Insulating Paints Two coating products were evaluated, Nansulate® Home Protect Clear Coat and Super Therm®, to determine whether they contribute insulating properties to the building envelope when applied as an interior coating. E
Interior Shutter Evaluation CCHRC evaluated an interior window shutter system that was designed to reduce heat loss through window while preventing moisture to condensate between the window and the shutter. The window was instrumented with thermocouples, a heat flux sensor, and relative humidity sensors.
air filters Kenai Indoor Air Quality Study This project examined the most common causes of indoor air quality problems in Southcentral Alaska by monitoring 100 homes for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, temperature, relative humidity, and radon.
Mobile Test Lab - Wall Systems for Southeast Alaska CCHRC tested wall sections appropriate to SE Alaska in the Mobile Test Lab.
moldy joist Mold Survey A survey of mold problems in Alaska Native housing looked at 73 regional or village housing authorities in Alaska and documented over 1700 apartments or homes with some degree of mold problem.
Mountain View Housing Study

This study evaluated new homes built by the Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) and a local contractor that are heated with boilers or furnace. Researchers examined the energy efficiency, homeowner comfort, indoor air quality, and humidity control of the homes. The project is jointly funded by the Cook Inlet Housing Authority and CCHRC.

newtok Newtok/Mertarvik Evacuation Center

CCHRC helped Newtok prepare a design for an Eva

Passive Refrigeration

This project looked at ways to use the cold temperatures during Alaska winters to lower the electrical demands of residential refrigerators and freezers. CCHRC partnered with industry to test a prototype of a passive refrigerator/freezer that used electricity only when the outdoor air temperature is too warm to sustain refrigerator temperatures.

Permafrost Technology Foundation Library

The Permafrost Technology Foundation produced design manuals and videos created to explain what permafrost is and where it occurs, how to conduct a thorough permafrost site investigation, and techniques for building new structures and stabilizing existing structures on permafrost.

PM 2.5 Reduction Policy CCHRC developed a model to estimate PM2.5 emissions from residential heating sources in Fairbanks and evaluated a variety of policy options aimed at reducing emissions, finding that these efforts could cut emissions in half.
Quinhagak Prototype Home

The Native Village of Kwinhagak has asked CCHRC to partner with residents to design a super-efficient prototype house, which was completed in 2010. The design features an octagonal-shape, to hold heat and shed wind-driven rain, and an innovative wall system that is light, simple, and mobile.

Rainwater Catchment Best Practices

This project developed best management practices for designing rainwater catchment systems for domestic water collection, storage and distribution.

Rebate & Weatherization Program Evaluation Audit Process This project evaluated AHFC's weatherization and rebate programs to determine outcomes and recommend improvements.
reflective insulation Reflective Insulation Study Reflective insulation can be effective in reducing solar heat gain in hot, sunny climates but is less effective in cold climates. This project evaluated the effectiveness of reflective insulations in cold climate construction.
Remediation of Smoke Particles in Fairbanks Homes

In the summer of 2004, this project was initiat

Safe & Effective Exterior Insulation Retrofits

CCHRC studied various housing retrofit techniques in a test lab to investigate the thermal and moisture performance of different wall designs. The results provide standards for building energy efficient, durable, healthy homes.

air exchange Southcentral Ventilation Study This study monitored nine houses in Anchorage to assess the effectiveness of their ventilation system and compliance with the Alaska Building Energy Efficiency Standard ventilation requirements.
Straw Bale House Monitoring

CCHRC gathered data from three straw bale houses in the Fairbanks area on temperature and moisture gradients throughout the straw bale insulation of exterior walls.

Thermal Storage Technology Assessment

Thermal storage allows you to store heat for later use, such as storing solar or wood heat. This report examines the potential of thermal storage systems to enhance the use of renewable heating systems in cold climates and improve the efficiency of heating systems.

UAF Sustainable Village Prototype Homes

CCHRC partnered with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to design a sustainable student village that includes a cluster of super energy-efficient homes with shared open space, a community garden, and footpaths between buildings. The village will be on University property adjacent to CCHRC’s research center.

Wood Storage Best Practices

CCHRC completed a study on multiple wood storage methods to see how long it takes to cure firewood. Burning dry wood produces fewer PM 2.5 emissions and more heat energy, a benefit to both homeowners and all borough residents.

Wood-Burning Technology Study

CCHRC is evaluating the economic and environmental considerations of a variety of residential wood energy appliances, including wood stoves, pellet stoves, wood boilers, and masonry heaters.