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Building Science Research
The Building Science Research program area focuses on the unique challenges of building in Alaska’s extreme and diverse climates. Researchers test building systems and techniques, such as adding exterior foam to the wall, in existing homes and in the lab to see what works in the real world. They produce reports for industry professionals, such as an HRV installation manual, as well as educational materials for the general public, such as the Consumer Guide to Home Heating. The goal of the Building Science Research program is to provide home builders, homeowners, and other stakeholders the information they need to improve shelter in the North.
Within building science research is the Product Testing Lab, designed to test the cold-climate performance of a wide variety of building products and systems, from heating appliances to window shutters to firewood. The PTL is a scientific lab designed to fairly and objectively distinguish high-performance products. Research topics are partially influenced by partners, industry members, and other research organizations.
Sustainable Northern Communities
The Sustainable Northern Shelter program was initiated in 2008 to address the needs for sustainable rural housing in northern climates. CCHRC designers work with local residents and housing authorities to develop homes that reflect the culture, environment, and local resources of individual communities. The designs emphasize energy efficiency, affordability, and durability.
CCHRC has developed several prototype homes that can be easily and affordably reproduced throughout the communities to provide much-needed housing. The program has grown to encompass more than a dozen villages throughout Alaska.
Having a voice in housing and energy policy is essential to creating change in the housing and construction world. The Policy Research program supports the CCHRC mission through research, consulting, advocacy, and information systems development. Projects include a cost and savings analysis of the statewide home energy rebate program and upgrades for a computer program used by energy raters.
Policy projects are closely engaged with key agencies and stakeholders in an effort to create a foundation of sound building science for energy efficiency and housing policy.