Walls

Walls typically represent the largest exterior surface area of a home. As a result, from an energy stand point, the wall system is a major component of the building envelope, particularly in extreme cold climates. When it comes to improving thermal performance, there are many ways to construct a wall, and the details of sealing, sheathing and insulating are even more numerous. At the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, various wall types and building techniques are being evaluated on an ongoing basis. There are many factors that must be taken into account when designing or choosing a wall system:  Energy efficiency, cost, resistance to the elements, availability of materials, and the climate in which the wall is expected to perform, are all important considerations.  
 

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Projects

Designs for Rural Alaska Walls Monitoring CCHRC demonstration homes for efficiency and moisture infiltration several years after construction.
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.
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.
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.
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.