Example Projects:

Bioshelter, Eagle River, Alaska

Front of bioshelter An award-winning design for an integrated bioshelter providing a high degree of self-sufficiency at competitive cost. The project was originally undertaken (1) as proof of concept for a full reuse, closed water system, and (2) to act as a live-in laboratory, allowing continuing development and testing of various system components

 The closed water system emulates the circulatory system of a living organism, providing homeostasis, nutrient/energy distribution and waste removal functions. Details

Take a photo tour.

Controlled Environment Plant Growth Chamber,
Anchor Point, Alaska

Growth Chamber Mechanical system for a controlled environment commercial plant growth chamber at Anchor Point, Alaska. Temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and light levels are automatically controlled. No auxiliary heating or cooling equipment was installed in the facility: instead, temperatures are maintained by storing waste heat from the HID lights in phase-change materials during the "on" cycle, to be released to the growing space during the "off" cycle. Details 

CLIENT: Anchor Renewable Farms, Anchor Point, Alaska

Community Freezer, Holy Cross, Alaska

Design for a Passive Environmental Freezer for the village of Holy Cross, Alaska. An electronic control system operates dampers to store the winter "cold" in brine tanks, to keep meat and fish frozen throughout the summer months without electricity. (Subsequent projects include freezers for villages of Gulkana, Mentasta and Chitina - conceptual designs only, for these villages.) Details 

CLIENT: Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks, Alaska

Price Residence, Palmer, Alaska

 Price Residence

Design for an earth sheltered house with seasonal heat storage capacity and passive (hybrid) solar-powered heat transfer system. 

The design is unique in that, where conventional passive solar houses are designed to collect and store heat for a matter of hours, or a few days at most (and require daily temperature swings to store and release that heat), this house can cost-effectively store and utilize heat collected during the summer (when it is abundant) for use in the winter. Details 

CLIENT: Frank and Joann Price

Waste Separator for village of Kaktovik, Alaska

Design of a system to separate non-biodegradable solids (diapers, plastic bags, 2x4's, beer cans, toys, etc.) from organic wastes, prior to discharge into a sewage lagoon.  (Notice the hundreds of barrels of shit in the background.)  Details 

CLIENT: Alaska North Slope Borough 

Klukwan School, Klukwan, Alaska

    Design of an unique HVAC System which uses no fan energy, but wind and thermal pressure differences only, to induce flow of ventilation air through the building. Project was a winner of 1985 AIA award. Details 

    CLIENT: Minch, Ritter, Forest, Architects, Juneau, AK 

"A Plan for a Community Greenhouse and Waste Treatment Facility for Cold Climate Regions"

 village digester Paper presented at Ecological Engineering for Wastewater Treatment international conference, Stensund Folk College, Sweden, March 1991.

Abstract: A plan for a community-scale integrated greenhouse/waste treatment facility is proposed. The facility would use biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic wastes to generate electricity, heat, light, and carbon dioxide for enhanced plant growth in a controlled environment. A design procedure and calculations are provided. Assumptions include: 1) Methane yield > 30 standard cubic meters/kg volatile solids added (SCM/kg VS), 2) methane-to- electricity conversion efficiency > 28%, 3) total recoverable energy from combustion of methane > 80%.

Birch Creek Community Center, Birch Creek, Alaska

  Design for a clinic/washeteria for a remote Alaskan village.  The design incorporates heat recovery from multiple sources, including primary power diesel generators, exhaust building ventilation air, and hydronic dryers. 

CLIENT: Birch Creek Village Council, Birch Creek, Alaska

Prototype Alternative Ventilation System

Design for a prototype residential ventilation system suitable for rural Alaska conditions. The system provides a simpler, lower cost alternative to traditional Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) systems while addressing the inherent limitations of passive or exhaust-only systems. Details are provided in a paper presented at the April 2001 Cold Comfort conference. An interactive on-line "Ventilation System Economic Calculator" allows end users to evaluate ventilation system options for their own site-specific conditions.

CLIENT: Bristol Bay Housing Authority