Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 4:59 PM on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sustainable student village planned for UAF

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks is designing a sustainable student village that includes a cluster of super energy-efficient homes with shared open space, a community garden, and footpaths between buildings. The village will be on university property adjacent to CCHRC's research center off Fairbanks Street.

The goal is to build the first cluster of four four-bedroom homes by the summer of 2012. As much a research project as a development, UAF students, faculty, and departments will work with CCHRC building scientists to improve on each iteration of the UAF Sustainable Village over the coming years, according to a press release.

"We still need to solve critical design and technology problems related to building in this climate. The Sustainable Village will help solve those problems, while providing hands-on learning and fostering a community of students who are committed to sustainability," said Jack Hébert, president and CEO of CCHRC.

The project will blend the latest cold-climate technology, environmentally sound land use and sustainable infrastructure with a new model of campus housing — students as live-in researchers who test, interpret, and help refine the design as part of their college education.

It also will emphasize community design. CCHRC is working with the UAF Office of the Chancellor, the UAF Office of Sustainability and student groups on the concept and design. UAF is hosting a design competition this fall where groups of students submit ideas and attend design seminars for credit and the chance to join CCHRC's design team.

The first cluster of homes will house between 16-40 residents — a mix of undergrad and grad students. UAF and CCHRC plan to build on this cluster, spreading out the financing and adapting new technology and lessons with each phase.

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