Building Science Research

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The Building Science Research program focuses on the unique challenges of building in Alaska’s extreme and diverse climates. Researchers study the performance and economics of various building systems and techniques in many different settings: in the lab, in existing homes, and in communities throughout the state.

Projects include the Mobile Test Lab, which tests how nine different wall systems react to humidity, and an economic analysis of ground source heat pumps in Alaska. This program also produces educational materials for the public like the Consumer Guide to Home Heating, a manual for homeowners that describes the heating, distribution, and control systems most common in Alaska.

The goal of the Building Science Research program is to provide builders, homeowners, and other stakeholders with information they need to improve shelter in the North.











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Vacuum Insulated Panel Test CCHRC is testing how Vacuum Insulated Panels can be assembled to achieve extremely high R-values in cold climate homes.
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.