Plumbing & Mechanicalmechanical Systems

Mechanical Systems

Mechanical systems include all the heating, cooling, and air handling systems that are used to keep your home comfortable and healthy.


When it comes to mechanical systems, the first thing Alaskans typically think about is heating. Heat is vital to life in the north, and CCHRC looks at various ways of reducing heating costs and incorporating clean and alternative energy systems into homes. At the Research and Testing Facility, we are testing a variety of heating systems, including oil boilers, biomass, solar thermal, thermal storage, ground source heat pumps, and air source heat pumps.

Through ongoing projects, systems are monitored to compare their energy performance and operating costs and figure out ways they can be adapted to the cold environment.

Click below for information on heating systems: (these are links to posts under the Energy section)

  • Wood Stoves
  • Pellet Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Masonry Heaters
  • Boilers

Ground Source Heat Pumps

CCHRC developed the Consumer Guide to Home Heating to guide homeowners who are looking for the right heating system:


In a climate with extreme temperatures, it is critical to have plumbing systems that can deliver water reliably for all household needs. All components of the water system must be evaluated carefully, including storage, supply, waste, vent, and septic systems. The more extreme the conditions, the more critical the need for a properly designed system becomes. Proper plumbing design, materials, installation, and service will ensure your water needs are met no matter the conditions.


Power systems are important to any home, whether in the circumpolar north or elsewhere around the globe. As the technology surrounding electrical systems advances, appropriate and safe design practices must also keep pace. Because the cost of electricity tends to be higher in Alaska (in some communities, up to eight times the national average) conserving power is very important.

Related Resources

TitleResource Link
Solar Photovoltaics for Homes Snapshot


Related Projects

Plumbing & Mechanical

Heating, cooling, and air handling systems.

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