Building Science

The Building Science program focuses on the unique challenges of building in Alaska’s extreme and diverse climates. Researchers study the performance and economics of various building techniques and products in the lab and in the field. Specific research focus areas include thermal performance and moisture control in the building envelope and the thermal interactions between foundations and frozen ground.

The Building Science team is staffed with mechanical engineers and physical scientists that collectively have broad backgrounds in heat and mass transfer, arctic engineering, data acquisition and management, material science, research design, and project management. We have experience using WUFI and TEMPW software. 

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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.
Safe Effective Affordable Retrofits Testing a new batch of wall systems that can provide affordable retrofit options.
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) in Cold Climates Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) are whole house ventilation systems that exchange stale indoor air with fresh outside air, recovering both heat and moisture from the indoor air to save energy. They have the potential to improve indoor air quality in a cold dry climate like Interior Alaska.
Thermal Mass Study Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy, which can be useful when it comes to cold climate housing. This project clarifies the role of thermal mass in housing and includes a literature review and energy modeling with IDA Indoor Climate and Energy (ICE) software.