An interestin read for an "arctic dream home"
An interestin read for an "arctic dream home"
No doubt this is where part of the 100 million dollars the state has set aside for Job Training in rural Alaska. The home had a maximum construction budget of $150,000. I wonder what the project cost in reality when including the project development, grant managment, training, transportation costs, engineering and environmental impact studies.
Interesting that the foundation is nothing that would be considered permenant by any perscriptive method in the international building code for residential construction. There is no uplift protection other than burying the perimeter with soil. There is basically no foundation rigidity with the weight of massive concrete footings with bolts fastened to a structural panel. Maybe this will set presidence for new code adoption for anchorage.
Oh and solar panels..in alaska..
maybe I'm wrong...but don't those require a sun?
I hear ya! What is gonna happen on a big blow . . . turn trailer house? I also saw no venting under it but I did not weight for all the pix to load.
Solar is fine in Alaska . . . for TV watching in the summer time. I lived in an off grid house in Arizona for 5 years and even with the sun down there solar was marginally worth the expense and PITA.
I think they said at the end of the article that theis was a special house ofr the location, so don't expect any code changes any time soon. Interesting concept, but I wonder how level the floor will be in a few years.
Pretty cool looking project, but no footings or piles? That is just bizzare to me.
The banking around the house was interesting and the garage with shop on the outside was a great idea. Looking at the area I bet they get a lot of wind and with the banking so high under the windows if a snow storm and wind was just right looks like you would be looking at a snow bank higher than the windows..
Its called... an igloo
call me supid in this area of home building in alaska ..
would it not been better to gone with wind unit to charge the batties unit for the house..
the earth banking of the house works great but would not think to do a snow fence system of a earth bank so far out from the house so the blowing snow will not pile up on the house..
i looked over the pictures and found a lot of diff items that looked good for a alaska cold weather home project but there was a few unanswered question on the project about the way some thing where used and other not used ..
Well I think the "dreamhome" part is the fact that it was built using free money.
The cold climate folks really know what they are doing. They have to build stuff like this to test it, but many of their ideas are accepted throughout Alaska now when it comes to cold climate building.
No building in the bush is going to meet codes for the lower 48 in regards to foundation. See all those houses in the background? Up on sono-tubes like that for a reason..so they won't melt the permafrost. I doubt any of those meet foundation codes either.
I'm glad to see them pust the envelope like this. Unfortunately, rural habits and lifestyles often do not work well with super tight construction. Moisture control issues with a place this tight is going to be a nightmare.
As for solar. Well, they are going to have awesome solar up their for half the year anyway Nobody is ever going to know how well it works until they try.
If they save a family 1/2 of their fuel costs over a the lifetime of this house it's going to be worth it. Especially if taxpayers don't have to subsidize the fuel.
Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem
I beg to differ with the idea that we need to wait to see what techniques work or are effective.
We know what the thermal properties eurethane foam are. We know how encasing galvanised metal in foam performs.
We know what the effectiveness of solar panels in a given latitude/longitude is.
We know how earthberms work and what the heat transfer characteristics of dirt is.
We know how the ground moves in cold climates.
We know what the projected job outlook for a given native village is on the north slope of alaska.
Now we know where the grant money goes that's set aside for training and education.
I don't think we need to "wait" to see how the building performs. I didn't see any new cutting edge technology being utilized.
Sono tubes, pressure treated wood, even old power poles and rail road ties can meet national building codes, even seismic addendums, if done correctly, but gravel at grade does not.
I am happy they don’t have building inspectors and red tape, that’s a great thing in my book! I believe people should be let alone to build whatever they want on their own land. At the same time I think it’s smart to do build it well while you’re at it, people never consider that most of the greatest structures around the world predate building codes.
Without at a 300 drgree azimuth and 30 of elevation tracking system they won’t have “awesome solar” output half the year and no matter what they will have virtually none in winter. When we rate a sights solar power positional hours of daylight is a small component of the equation. Much more important is, light intensity, angle to the horizon, and angle of the panel to the sun. You put a 100w panel fixed on a roof in Arizona and on the longest summer day you will get about 1200w for the day. Same fixed panel in Barrow will give you about 350w even though the sun shines all 24 hours. This is because the Barrow sun will spend less than 20 minutes at an optimal angle to the panel and even then it’s very week due to the shallow angle above the horizon. Then if they do use a tracking set up they got to power that too and all this is not even counting weather into the mix. However if someone gave me a free solar system I would also smile and say thank you . . . then sell it and go get some $500 wind generators.
Its my understanding there is no existing "code" in the currently adopted IRC for pilings with out a design by a registered engineer. A building on pilings can be engineered for specific applications in that respect. The IBC or other construction code publications dictate standards for the engineering in such cases. In these cases the governing authority simply expects a design bearing an engineers stamp on the plan.Sono tubes, pressure treated wood, even old power poles and rail road ties can meet national building codes, even seismic addendums, if done correctly, but gravel at grade does not.
I probably shouldn't have popped off about solar because I know next to zilch about it.
However....I have spent considerable amount of time in houses all over the arctic in over a dozen villages. What they are currently using is not working in most places. Now, I haven't spent any time in anything built in the last 5 years, so that might have changed. I have been in several public buildings that use the latest technology for insulating from permafrost, but the expense is great.
I have no idea what foam they are using. It sure looks like urethane, but who knows?
The cold climate folks in Faribanks are not idiots. They have pulled ideas from throughout the world according to their website and I hope it works out for them. http://www.cchrc.org/App_Content/fil...ach_071508.pdf
They are looking for a cheaper way to build a suitable home for a certain area. I particularly like this quote from the article.
For the Native peoples to be able to stay in their villages something is going to have to happen to make it cheaper to live there.“CCHRC will be working with other communities to design (with them) the homes that meet their needs. A real success for the program would be local contractors or individuals building affordable homes for their neighbors, not just the housing authorities doing construction.”
Frankly, if we didn't experiment along the way we would never have uniform building codes and be still living in balloon framed, sawdust insulated, worthless houses.
Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem
Yup pretty much, there are parameters in the code for them by accepting IBC standers charts. They are based on soil loading ability so it's the load class of the soil will need an engineer sign off at some point. From the load rating he gives the soil you can pick from approved designs much like span charts for beams etc. If none of the standard designs trip your trigger, or they are so overkill that they are cost prohibitive you can have the engineer design and sign off on a one off foundation for the particular sight and structure. Hardly ever get into this with just a house on flat-ish land but it can happen with crap soil.
I work in the design field, and when it comes to desigining public buildings in the arctic we are still experimenting. They make designers take a course called "Northern Building Design". In that class you learn what the best knowlege available is, and where to look for new knowlege. CCHRC is one of those sources. There will never be a day when someone is not experimenting to see if there is a better way to build, much less build in the arctic.