LEED Platinum Comes To Fairbanks, Alaska

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC), located appropriately enough in Fairbanks, Alaska, has earned LEED Platinum certification. That makes it the northernmost building in the world to gain the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating, the nonprofit center said.

CCHRC said it achieved LEED Platinum “by using innovative but practical building techniques and technologies available in Alaska, including the REMOTE wall, Alaskan-made triple pane windows, solar thermal systems, and residential HRV.”

Cold Climate Housing Research Center, Fairbanks, Alaska

image via Cold Climate Housing Research Center

Triple-pane windows and solar thermal systems – those are familiar enough. But a REMOTE wall? According to the CCHRC, that’s “residential exterior membrane outside insulation technique,” wherein the vapor barrier and much of the whole wall’s insulating value are moved to the exterior of the structural members while a smaller portion of the insulation remains in the interior of the wall cavity.

And HRV? That’s a heat recovery ventilator. Airtight buildings need ventilation systems, especially in the colder times of the year (nine months of the year in Alaska) when windows are rarely open. With a heat-exchange core, an HRV can grab the heat from the outgoing stream of air and transfer it to the incoming stream.

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center is described as a non-profit organization dedicated to research that improves the durability, health, and affordability of shelter for people living in the circumpolar regions.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.