CCHRC is working on a housing project in the village of Crooked Creek that symbolizes a new way of responding to disasters in rural Alaska. The Kuskokwim River flooded the village in May, damaging or destroying half the homes in the town. The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management asked us to quickly design nine new energy efficient homes that could be built before winter.
We’ve created a design that is simple—it can be built by the many volunteers involved—flexible—it can be applied to homes with different sizes and floor plans—and tight—it can be heated with far less fuel than existing homes. The entire structure-walls, floors, and roof-will consist of a single system of 2x4s, so the homes will be quick and easy to build. This project is a milestone for rural housing because it adds an energy efficiency focus to the emergency-response building process. It recognizes that even replacement housing needs to be efficient, climate-specific, and durable.
We’re adapting techniques from prototype houses that we’ve tested in other villages, like Anaktuvuk Pass and Quinhagak, such as spraying foam insulation against metal siding to create a complete thermal envelope. The building sites will be elevated above the floodplain on gravel pads.
This is part of a larger plan with the Alaska DHS&EM to create regionalized, grab-and-go models that can respond to different disasters all over the state.