UAF Students Testing High Efficiency Homes

New housing for University of Alaska Fairbanks students will test high efficiency design and construction. The Sustainable Village will include four-bedroom homes designed to be heated with the equivalent of 200 gallons of oil per year, but the houses will use a mix of solar and biomass energy. The project is a partnership between UAF and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.  Center President and CEO Jack Hebert said the project is a real world test of innovative northern housing.

Student teams competed to design the new homes, which will be wired with sensors to monitor efficiency.  Winning design team member Lyle Alexander says the Sustainable Village is about testing and comparing design elements specific to each home site.

One of the prototypes employs a super insulated foundation designed to protect underlying permafrost from degradation. The Sustainable Village will also feature a unique above ground on-site sewage treatment system, but Alexander says much of the housing project just brings together off the shelf components.

The four Sustainable Village Homes are scheduled for completion by August.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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