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04.03.2016
Tens of millions of dollars are spent each year on housing and infrastructure to improve quality of life in rural Alaska – wind turbines, power houses, roads, housing, weatherization, plumbing, and much more. Plenty of organizations are trying to help – state and federal agencies, regional corporations, housing authorities, tribal entities, nonprofits – each focused on an individual aspect: energy, housing, sanitation, transportation, health, local economies, culture, education. Jack Hebert with CCHRC talks about the role of energy efficient housing and indoor air quality in community development.
The Holistic Approach to Sustainable Northern Communities is a demonstration project that will factor in the many elements of community development. Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs, are prefabricated building panels that combine structural elements, insulation, and sheathing in one product. Constructing a home from SIPs begins at the design phase: builders must work with the SIP manufacturer since the panels are specific to the design. As they are erected, the panels must be joined together according to manufacturer specifications.
Electrical outlets and wiring are usually installed into recesses and holes pre-cut into the panels, both on the interior and the exterior as needed. On the other hand, builders must take extra care to ensure proper assembly and sealing to prevent any problems due to moisture infiltration and air leakage. While egress could be a door opening to the outside, it is most commonly a window, and the IRC specifies minimum requirements for egress windows. Finally, the window cannot be more than 44 inches from the floor, and people must be able to open the window without any special tools or knowledge. Adding egress windows in required rooms will allow your house to pass inspection should you decide to sell it and will add value to the home as well.
Condensation occurs when water vapor (a gas) turns into water droplets as it comes into contact with a cold surface. For example, if the indoor temperature is 70 degrees and the outdoor temperature is 0, then moisture will begin to condense on a single-pane window when there is roughly 15 percent relative humidity in the house.
The recommended indoor humidity levels for occupant health and comfort range from 30-50 percent. Three things: make sure your home is properly ventilated, aim for less than 40 percent relative humidity to keep both you and your home healthy, and consider replacing your windows or adding moveable window insulation during cold months.
If you already use mechanical ventilation and have low interior humidity, but are still having problems, you may need to examine your ventilation setting. Also make sure air is allowed to circulate—either passively or mechanically—throughout the entire house. Older, poorer performing windows can create problems no matter what you do to your interior air.
The Birch House at the UAF Sustainable Village used the equivalent of 367 gallons of heating oil in the first year of occupancy, less than half as much as an average home its size in Fairbanks.
The homes incorporate experimental techniques, like solar hydronic heating and adjustable foundations on permafrost, that should reduce energy costs and improve the durability of the homes. On average, the homes used less than half as much energy as an average new house in Fairbanks. The lowest user was the Willow house, going through the equivalent of 366 gallons of heating oil No. The homes are super-insulated and incorporate energy-saving features like heat recovery ventilation, triple pane windows and Energy Star appliances.
The Spruce House, on the other hand, has a double wall filled with 18 inches of cellulose insulation (R-64), and a forced air heating system with a small diesel heater that heats fresh ventilation air. Because each house has roughly the same heating load, the difference in energy use can be largely explained by the differing mechanical systems and the occupants themselves. What’s the set point of the thermostat? A cost analysis showed the Sustainable Village homes were competitive with other energy efficient building in the Interior — averaging about $185 per square foot, including water and wastewater, electrical, and roads (not including land). CCHRC also monitored soil temperatures at the homes to study the effects of different foundations on the ground. The Arctic Wall is an airtight double-wall system using cellulose insulation and is designed to allow water vapor to diffuse through the wall.
CCHRC recently tested a wall construction technique in the Interior that provides very high levels of insulation to maximize energy efficiency. The system was designed by Fairbanks builder Thorsten Chlupp and uses some of the principles of the REMOTE wall—another super-insulated building technique that places the majority of the insulation outside the load-bearing wall.
Conventional cold climate construction calls for a vapor retarder on the warm side of the exterior wall. Chlupp’s system under study by CCHRC contains a 2×6 interior structural wall filled with blown-in cellulose with taped sheathing and a vapor-permeable air barrier (Tyvek HomeWrap) wrapped on the outside of that sheathing. CCHRC monitored the Arctic Wall’s performance over 13 months by placing temperature, moisture and relative humidity sensors in the walls.  The goal was to determine whether the conditions would support mold growth, and how moisture would move through the walls.
Test results indicated that both temperature and relative humidity levels in the walls were not sufficient to support mold growth. The relative humidity of the bathroom wall (the one likely to see the most moisture) never exceeded 65%,  staying well below the risk level for mold growth. CCHRC also used moisture modeling software to predict how the walls would perform over a 9-year period, which showed that humidity levels and moisture content within the walls should not reach a level where mold growth would be a concern. Also noteworthy was the direction of moisture transport in the Arctic Wall—walls dried to the inside in the summer and to the outside in the winter. The Arctic Wall is a specific system whose components must be carefully engineered and built to ensure proper performance and moisture management.  Based on CCHRC testing, the Arctic wall has done very well in Interior Alaska and provides a new option for a super-insulated house design.
CCHRC recently completed a study on how you can use thermal storage as part of your home heating system. Thermal storage has recently gained interest in Alaska as it has the potential to increase the efficiency of heating appliances, enhance the use of renewable energy in cold climates, and reduce emissions of certain appliances like wood boilers.
Every thermal storage system needs three basic components: a heat source, a storage medium to store the heat (such as a tank of water, rocks or soil), and a discharge method (heat exchanger) to distribute the heat. Also, many factors will drive the design of a thermal storage system for your home — such as your heating appliance, your distribution system, your heating demand, your lifestyle and many others. A different system, located at CCHRC, uses a wood-fired boiler to charge an insulated 1,500-gallon tank of water in the lab.


If you’re considering a thermal storage system, the first step is to consider what your goal is.
Check out the report for an overview of various types of systems used in cold climates, case studies in Alaska, and tips for designing your own system.
This week we tried a new building system at the Village–a cellulose REMOTE wall in the SW house. We also installed birch paneling ceilings, cabinetry, and ventilation systems in 2 of the homes. During Week 12, we insulated walls of the second house with six inches of fiberglass batting on the inside and 8 inches of foam board on the outside. Each home will be sided with a different color combo, with a mix of metal siding and recycled steel pipe. This tutorial will show you how to set up a nice looking white interior scene with high ceilings using V-Ray in 3ds Max. 3D Max is considered to be the most commonly used software for architecture and interior design projects. Autodesk 3ds Max software, brings not only the look and feel for the image, but also helps to visualize the design in reality. Design Ideas, Floor Plan Designer Online Tritmonk Pictures Of Home Interior Flooring Design Idea Apartment Planning My Maker Best Making Design: An Easy Free Software Online Floor Plan MakerThe glamorous Floor Plan Designer Online Tritmonk Pictures Of Home Interior Flooring Design Idea Apartment Planning My Maker Best Making Design photograph above, is part of An Easy Free Software Online Floor Plan Maker editorial, which is graded within Design Ideas. Facebook Discussions on Floor Plan Designer Online Tritmonk Pictures Of Home Interior Flooring Design Idea Apartment Planning My Maker Best Making DesignJoin the discussion on this Floor Plan Designer Online Tritmonk Pictures Of Home Interior Flooring Design Idea Apartment Planning My Maker Best Making Design using your faceb??k account below. In the beginning it was featuring only great architectural images from unique designed houses.
Meanwhile, many Alaska communities are struggling to survive in the face of energy costs, climate change, coastal erosion, lack of jobs, and other challenges.
It started with two roundtable discussions this fall, where leaders from all levels of government and community planning came together and shared their successes and challenges, their needs and ideas for a more effective process. SIPs can be used for the walls, roof and floor of a building in place of more traditional construction methods, such as stick-framing. Any special considerations for running electrical systems or other mechanical penetrations through the SIPs should be addressed with the manufacturer during the design phase.
For one, the absence of an air permeable wall cavity prevents convective heat losses from occurring within the panels.
Builders also do not have much flexibility in on-site design changes, since panels come pre-cut.
The design services and shipping costs may drive the price of SIPs above that of conventional framing materials.
Not surprisingly, all houses need egress for events such as a fire, and emergency egress is required by the International Residential Code for residential buildings. Window coverings, such as a screen or bars, are OK, but people need to be able to remove them without any special force, tools or knowledge. Since egress windows in basements wouldn’t do much good opening to soil, a window well is required outside the window.
Sometimes, adding or replacing windows can become a major project, and it must be done correctly to avoid air leakage and drainage problems later. This can be caused by one or a combination of factors: excess humidity, inadequate ventilation, or poor windows.
The point at which this happens (called the “dew point”) depends on the temperature and humidity of the inside air.
A double-pane window will cause condensation at around 25-40 percent relative humidity, and a triple-pane window at between 30-50 percent. The general rule in a cold climate, however, is to target the lower end of this spectrum due to the risk of condensation within walls and ceilings. If you have a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), it may be recirculating too often, which can contribute to increased moisture build up in the air. If you close the door to the bedroom, the air can become cold and moist enough to condense on windows. Bad seals around operable windows, metal spacers between the panes, and inadequate insulating value can cause the window surface to get cold enough for condensation to occur.  If you’re not ready to invest in new windows, consider some type of moveable window insulation like foam board (on the outside) or well-sealed plastic film (on the inside).
CCHRC, along with student residents, have been monitoring the energy use and indoor air quality at the homes for the past year. 1, or 48.3 million Btu, for both heating and domestic hot water from September 2012 to September 2013. The Willow House has a REMOTE wall with 8 inches of exterior foam insulation and 3.5 inches of fiberglass batts inside the wall cavity (for a total of R-51). The two western homes are built on permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, only 2-3 feet deep in the summer.
Neither side of the air barrier covering the exterior of the 2×6 structural wall ever approached the dew point (the point at which vapor condenses to water), indicating the structural framing is well protected from moisture. It is most suited for renewable energy systems such as solar thermal, geothermal and biomass, but can be adapted to a wide variety of heat sources.
Many households use water storage tanks to provide domestic hot water, which can range from just a couple gallons to more than 100 gallons.
Technically, any heat source can be used to charge a thermal storage material, however you should select the fuel and storage material based on availability, cost and compatibility with your home’s needs. The design of the system also will depend on whether the system is being installed in a new home or being retrofitted into an existing one, as retrofits must accommodate the existing distribution system and available space in the home. A net-zero heating home built in Fairbanks several years ago uses solar thermal collectors and a masonry heater to charge a 5,000-gallon insulated water tank that provides heat to a radiant floor system.
The goal was to fire the boiler hot and fast, which produces more Btu and fewer emissions, and save the heat to use when it’s needed, rather than damping down the boiler so the fire lasts longer. The tank was sized to hold as many Btu as the boiler could produce in one firing per day and to provide enough heat for the entire lab over a full winter day. The devil is in the details, and we’re detailing ceilings, floors, corners, railings, trim, and everything else.


A REMOTE wall has the majority of the insulation value, or R-value, outside the sheathing rather than inside. All windows are triple-pane, low-e argon filled, designed to minimize heat loss and avoid condensation in an extreme climate. With Autodesk 3Ds Max, you can almost do anything, from creating realistic interior designs to animations. At present, we gathered some excellent 3DS Max tutorials around to help interior designers and architects in creating realistic interior designs with 3D Max. Later on when the website started to get viral through the social networks it continued with posting articles related to interior and exterior design but also modern and minimal furnitures from various vendors.
Now we are planning a pilot project in the Yukon Kuskokwim region that starts with one piece and builds a model of collaboration for all communities in Alaska. A SIP typically consists of a foam insulation core with a structural sheathing panel bonded to both faces.
When the structural connections between panels are being made, workers must take care to seal the joint between the panels to ensure it remains airtight. Large panels will have fewer framing members than a stick-framed wall, which reduces heat losses due to thermal bridging.
An experienced builder who can work through a home design with the manufacturer and who doesn’t cut corners with sealing panel joints is a necessity. However, this can pay off in reduced labor costs if a trained crew erects a building quickly, or if several buildings of the same design are being erected. The window well should be large enough for the window to open fully, and also should contain a ladder if the well is more than 44 inches deep.
A means of egress is sometimes overlooked during remodels — for example, converting a space to a bedroom that was not initially planned for that use.
If you need to install egress windows, find a contractor familiar with the building code and who will take the time to properly install energy efficient windows that meet the requirements.
To understand and correct a particular issue in your home, you need to know some basic properties of moisture. The warmer the indoor air, the more water vapor it can “hold,” and moisture can better remain in the vapor state.
The average same-size house in Fairbanks uses about 920 gallons, according to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s database. The trick when building on permafrost is to isolate the house from the ground, so heat doesn’t leak into the soil and thaw the frozen ground (which can cause expensive structural problems). The report looks at different design considerations and describes several examples in homes around Alaska.
Thermal storage also can be used in space heating systems to store heat for a certain period of time. The time lapse shows workers installing beautiful birch paneling on the upstairs ceiling as well as cabinets and appliances.
However creating a good presentation of architectural projects is not an easy task and requires lots of skills and expertise. Air sealing the panel joints can be accomplished using sealing agents such as caulk, adhesive, mastic, spray foam or tape. With a trained crew, SIP buildings can be erected quickly, a big advantage in climates with short building seasons. The minimum size is 5.7 square feet, unless the windowsill is on the floor, in which case the minimum is 5 square feet. Of course, the IRC specifies well and ladder dimensions if this situation applies to your home. If you have a room that does not meet the minimum egress requirements, there are many reasons to correct the problem, the most important being providing a way to exit a house safely in an emergency. When air moves next to a cold window, the temperature drops and it can’t “hold” as much vapor.  That’s when you start to see condensation forming. In Fairbanks, it’s tough to maintain anything close to 50 percent humidity in a properly ventilated house, because the winter air is so cold and dry.
If you’re getting condensation in your current mode, try decreasing the amount of time the unit recirculates. Space heating and hot water are provided by a propane boiler and three solar thermal collectors. These homes used experimental foam raft foundations, steel floor joists with a thick layer of polyurethane spray foam designed to protect the permafrost. 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.
Along with the help of Harjeet Virdi we run the website by publishing high quality content and engaging architecture enthusiasts from all over the world.
A tight seal is also necessary in order to prevent moisture from entering the panel, which can lead to structural deterioration of the panel components over time. Properly constructed, a SIP panel home can realize a high level of air tightness and energy efficiency.
That’s more than the biggest energy user at the Village, the Spruce House, which used only 463 gallons of oil equivalent.
In each case, thermal storage can be thought of as a “heat battery” because it holds energy to be used later. Some building inspectors may require a 6mil polyethylene sheeting vapor retarder be installed on the interior side (warm side) of the SIPs once the panel construction is completed.
Meeting the minimum height and width requirements doesn’t guarantee meeting the minimum area, so the window will have to be larger in at least one of those dimensions.
In this way, it can enable a heat source with intermittent delivery (like the sun or wind) to still meet demand.



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