Energy-efficient home in Quinhagak off the ground 

By Alex DeMarban for The Tundra Drums: Workers in a southwest Alaska village are building a prototype house designed to shrug off painful heating costs and the wet winds that rot walls. Builders with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks on Monday began teaching a crew of three in Quinhagak how to build the octagonal house, said Aaron Cooke, a center architect.

After it’s built, he’ll monitor the three-bedroom, 1-bath unit to determine its energy-efficiency, using sensors to assess everything from moisture content to heat loss. Its heavily insulated walls and other features should “drastically” reduce heating bills — the top expense for many rural budgets — cutting them at least in half, he said.

And, thanks partly to minimal building materials, the center expects the house to go up for about half the price of the last home built in the village, Cooke said. Read more

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