The Alternative Village is an outdoor laboratory that is dedicated to research, testing, and training related to alternative energy technologies and building envelope systems. The centerpiece of the Alternative Village is the Straw-Bale Building, a structure insulated with straw bales. A number of smaller test buildings are being built on the Village site to contrast the thermal and moisture performance of several residential building systems. These test buildings are available for use by other researchers from industry or academia.
Current research activities include the use of solar energy in building systems, electricity generation, and building system performance (i.e., thermal, moisture, structural).
This facility exists to provide researchers, students, practitioners, industry and the public opportunities to share ideas and learn about alternative energy technologies and alternative building envelope systems. Public workshops are regularly hosted to encourage this exchange of information.