Cold Climate Housing Research Center: Fairbanks, AK

Cold Challenges


The Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, is a living lab that researches building techniques and materials, tests heating and energy systems, and designs sustainable prototype houses for rural areas in arctic climates. The facility was built for less than the cost of typical commercial construction and uses roughly half of the energy used by a comparable building. Heating energy sources include fuel oil, purchased electricity, photovoltaic panels, a wood-burning stone masonry heater and solar thermal. A rainwater cistern collects water that is used to flush toilets and for landscape irrigation. A locally made sewage treatment plant rated for -50°F treats sewage on site.

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