Cold Climate Housing Research Center

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) is a 501 C 3 corporation that was created by members of the Alaska State Home Building Association. The center’s mission is promote and advance the development of healthy, durable, and sustainable shelter for Alaskans and other circumpolar people through applied research.

The 15,000 square foot Research and Testing Facility (RTF) is located on the campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The building contains office spaces and a builder’s resource library on building in cold climates. The building itself is intended to be an ongoing research project and contains over 1200 sensors in the foundation and envelope. These sensors monitor the foundation strategy, mechanical systems and lighting systems.

Achieving LEED Platinum is difficult anywhere, but being in an extreme climate created additional challenges. To achieve advanced energy performance, the RTF used a REMOTE (Residential Exterior Membrane Outside Insulation Technique) wall system, Alaskan-made triple pane windows, solar thermal systems, and residential HRVs. The building has solar photovoltaics and solar hot water and hopes to be operating as a net-zero energy building in the near future.

View the CCHRC “Green Touchscreen” web site where you can see real time data on the building’s performance.

After a 6 year long process of design, construction and occupation of the building O’Brien & Company was hired to help the RTF earn the LEED Platinum certification it deserved. Our staff resurrected the existing LEED documentation and worked through technical issues with the Green Building Certification Institute. We challenged denied credits by writing and organization additional information that proved the building had met the credit’s intent.

Upon hearing that LEED Platinum had been achieved, Nate Mohatt, the COO of CCHRC, had this to say, “We wouldn’t have gotten there without you. Now it’s time to celebrate!”

Indeed! Congratulations to the most northern LEED Platinum building that has been certified to date.