Fairbanks homeowners begin building adventure

Gail Koepf and Rocky Reifenstuhl, Fairbanks, Alaska homeowners, are building a new home using sustainable, energy efficient techniques. CCHRC staff are filming aspects of the construction for use in a future “Best Practices” video about homebuilding in the North. The following is the first entry from Gail’s ongoing journal about the project. We will continue to post entries as their work progresses.

We are currently facing a world of energy shortages, pollution, insecurity, and diminishing resources.  These challenges have been confronted throughout time by all living creatures, as their populations pushed the limits of their existing conditions.  In order to survive, they were challenged to adapt to a new environment or had to move on.  Today moving on is less and less an option, so we had better learn to adapt and live in a way that is sustainable.  My husband and I were in a life transition and were planning our new home.   Our view was that taking steps toward sustainability was a goal second only to the need for shelter.  I have been asked several times why I wanted to experiment with my own house.  The reality is it was one of my main reasons for building.  If I had wanted a conventional home, it would have been a lot easier to purchase one (especially in the current market!).  I know there are many in Fairbanks, particularly now, who with a little encouragement would be willing to shift their concept of the “dream home” to something that is smaller & more efficient.  I am posting some of our experiences to inform others like ourselves, who are interested in downsizing and retiring here, and who are looking in to smaller, more affordable energy efficient homes.