The November snow didn’t stop CCHRC and UAF from beginning the early steps of creating the UAF Sustainable Village: clearing the site.
A half-dozen students joined CCHRC designers and builders as well as UAF workers in the field next to the research center this week. Clad in Carhartts and safety goggles, they chopped trees, dragged brush, chipped wood, and flagged land for the future buildings. They aimed to clear enough trees to create solar exposure for the homes but also to impact the habitat and soils as little as possible.
Four 4-bedroom homes will be constructed on the land this spring. It will serve as a living and learning center, housing students and providing research fodder for them, along with CCHRC scientists and UAF faculty. The homes will demonstrate cutting-edge sustainable building, with passive solar design, energy-trapping thermal mass, and a custom foundation that won’t disturb the permafrost underneath. The project will cost $1 million, showing that a super-efficient 4-bedroom home can be built in a subarctic climate with private financing for $250,000–a stride toward high-performing affordable housing.
Five students will join CCHRC architectural designers this winter to plan the village, after winning a design contest hosted by UAF.