Category Archives: Sustainable Village

Opening of the UAF Sustainable Village Wednesday, Oct. 3

The UAF Sustainable Village is a community for students who are passionate about the environment and reducing their carbon footprint. It is a collaboration between the UAF Office of Sustainability and the  Cold Climate Housing Research Center  to build and research energy efficient housing, renewable energy, and innovative heating and ventilation systems. Students at the Village make a commitment to sustainability through monitoring the systems, conserving energy and water, and helping develop additions like a greenhouse or community center.

On Wednesday we will celebrate the opening of the Village with a ribbon cutting on-site and words by CCHRC President Jack Hebert, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, student workers and student residents.

For more info contact Molly Rettig, Communications Coordinator, at molly at

Wednesday October 3, 2012 at 12 p.m.


11:30—Press invited to tour the interior of a student home

12:00—Ribbon cutting & brief words by Chancellor Brian Rogers & Jack Hebert

12:15—Move to CCHRC for brief ceremony—student posters on display

12:30—CCHRC President/CEO Jack Hebert welcoming

12:40—Words from student on design/construction team – Skye Sturm

12:50—Words from student resident

1:00—Time for interviews

1:15-1:30—Optional public tour of a student home

Sustainable Village Week 21: STUDENTS!

The homes are up, the students are moved in, and the heat is on! The construction site has been quickly transformed into homes with the arrival of students. Boxes of nails and piles of pipe fittings have been replaced with furniture, books, food, bikes and other everyday objects. The homes have a warm, homey feel on the inside and a very unique and eclectic yet natural look from the outside–a patchwork of bright colors and materials while surrounded by aspen, spruce, and natural habitat.

The Village is not just homes but also a research project, and science and innovation have been embedded throughout the site. Pressure transducers, flow meters, and other sensors are wired to data loggers and mini computers in each of the mechanical rooms to track how much fuel is being consumed and how much heat is being produced off the solar collectors. Thermistors in the ground will tell us whether heat is leaking through the foundation and whether the passive cooling system in the raft foundation is working. Students will help measure electricity, fuel use (of the pellet stove) and potentially many other aspects of the home’s performance.

Workers are doing finishing touches on deck railings, paint, and trim. But for the most part, the Village is looking complete. It’s exciting to see students starting a new chapter at the same time the Sustainable Village comes to life!

Week 19 & 20 at the Sustainable Village: HRVs, Siding & Porches on Helical Piers

Week 19 was a flurry of activity trying to finish homes for students to move in starting in Week 20. That included siding, interior trim, adding deck railing, moving in furniture, and–everyone’s favorite–cleaning up!

During Week 20 students moved into three of the homes. We are still wrapping up the interior of the SW home as well as a few outdoor tasks like siding. We are using a recyclable cellular vinyl siding on the south faces of the homes–a nice contrast with the bright metal siding and salvaged mining pipe. Each house has a unique patchwork look.

We also built front porches for the two homes on pilings–which meant driving four steel helical piers into the ground and building a wood deck on them. In the time lapse, you can watch Dawson installing the HRV and ductwork in the SW home (in turbo speed).


UAF Sustainable Village Week 18: Interior finishing

It’s finishing time at the Sustainable Village! The devil is in the details, and we’re detailing ceilings, floors, corners, railings, trim, and everything else. The time lapse shows workers installing beautiful birch paneling on the upstairs ceiling as well as cabinets and appliances.

Finishing up @ the UAF Sustainable Village

UAF Sustainable Village Week 17: the first cellulose REMOTE wall

This week we tried a new building system at the Village–a cellulose REMOTE wall in the SW house. A REMOTE wall has the majority of the insulation value, or R-value, outside the sheathing rather than inside. Up to this point, we always used rigid foam on the exterior. But since one goal of the Village is to test new techniques for both cost and energy use, we decided to try a REMOTE wall with batts as interior insulation and 9 inches of cellulose on the outside.

The house has two sets of studs, with sheathing applied to the inner wall. The inside wall cavity is filled with a recycled batt insulation. The outer wall was wrapped in Tyvek. To insulate the outside wall cavity, we hole-sawed a 6-inch hole in the sheathing in each wall bay (on both floors) and sprayed in 12 inches of dense-pack cellulose. Those holes were patched with poly sheeting and acoustical sealant. The whole wall is 18 inches thick.

We also installed birch paneling ceilings, cabinetry, and ventilation systems in 2 of the homes. The homes are mostly sided and are starting to look very livable!

UAF Sustainable Village Weeks 15-16: solar hydronic

Is it just us, or is this summer going fast?

As the daylight wanes to only 18 hours a day, we are getting situated to capture this heat at the Sustainable Village. The solar collectors are up on the northeast and southeast homes, which both have three 4-foot-by-10-foot collectors mounted on the south-facing wall just under the roof. The system will feed heat into radiant tubing in the concrete floor slabs, and will also dump heat into a 120-gallon solar storage tank in the house. We are adding temperature sensors and flow meters to each system to monitor how much heat is used.

Also, the homes have skin (for the most part), i.e. metal siding. Two green, one blue, and one gray with patches of other colors and salvaged dredge pipe. They look cheerful and also at home in the spruce forest.


UAF Sustainable Village Week 14: Sheetrock, insulation & siding

We continued siding, insulating, and Sheetrocking in Week 14. We began hanging a reclaimed steel siding that came from old dredge pipe in the surrounding area. It will provide an accent to the metal siding, adding a cool aesthetic and historical value to the homes.

UAF Sustainable Village Week 13: roofing & cellulose

The Village now has roofs. Roofers came and installed the green rubber-based shingles on all four homes in a single day. We also blew in roughly 2 feet of cellulose insulation underneath the NW roof, which will have a continuous 2-inch air gap between underneath the roof deck to keep the roof cold and dry.

We continued building REMOTE walls on the NE home, which will have 6 inches of interior fiberglass insulation and 8 inches of EPS foam board for 2/3 of total R-value on the outside.