Campbell Scientific and Geo-Watersheds Scientific are research partners with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). The CCHRC is a nonprofit research and testing organization that promotes healthy, durable, energyefficient, affordable homes, along with building products and designs for cold climates.

Applied science and environmental data generated through cooperation among these organizations is used to help improve living conditions for Alaskans throughout the state. These same advances have potential to improve conditions in other parts of the world as well. Benefits may include better construction techniques, improved use of water resources, and integration of energy resources.

The CCHRC recently completed its new Research and Test Facility (RTF) on the campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The facility is built on an area with underlying permafrost at various depths. Permafrost is perennially frozen ground, which presents many foundation and structural design challenges. This is a major area of study at the RTF.

The RTF is instrumented with a variety of monitoring sensors under the building, in the foundations, in flooring systems, and throughout the wall and roof areas. There is also a weather and geotechnical station nearby to help improve the understanding of permafrost, foundations, and thermal control of the subsurface building envelope.

The foundation system was built to allow future leveling in case of degradation of underlying permafrost. Jacking pads under the foundations are used to adjust the concrete beams that support the building walls and lower-level floor system.

Various floor and foundation types were used in the construction of the building so that different temperatureprofile sections could be monitored for thermal analysis of the building heat flow to underlying permafrost. The CCHRC network consists of ten CR1000 datalogger stations whose input channels are expanded by AM16/32A multiplexers interfacing hundreds of thermistors, dozens of CS616 soil moisture probes, and several other types of sensors.

In addition to studying foundation systems, the CCHRC expends major effort researching building envelopes, hybrid micro-energy systems, water reuse, and green roofs at the RTF. The data collected for these projects will be used for operations, education, and research.

 


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