About the Bioshelter

This house, built as a research and development facility in 1985 by environmental engineer Bob Crosby, was recognized for its commitment to earth-friendly practices with the 1987 Energy Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Called a bioshelter, it was built entirely from eco-friendly and sustainable materials available at the time and is still on the cutting edge of sustainable living practices.  We continue to collect data for the builder.

Designed to bring nature indoors, the 42 foot front of the house is a solarium, naturally warmed by the midnight sun and the ground’s thermal mass.  It is complete with wetlands, a koi pond, a babbling brook and a small waterfall.


We compost kitchen scraps in our enclosed worm farm to create a rich fertilizer for our gardens.

Because the house is buried into the mountain, the indoor climate is easily controlled:  warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

Rainwater is collected on the roof for use in the house as well as the gardens.  We treat our water and reuse it so that we only spend 2 gallons a day per person, whereas the typical American house spends 2-5 gallons of clean water every time they flush their toilet and about 75 gallons per person per day.  Our koi check the water for us before we reuse it.  If they die, we’ve used something detrimental to our health. 

Our toilets are composting toilets which we empty every six months.  One is a purchased biolet and the other is an indoor composter which collects all of our newspaper, cardboard, left-overs, as well as pruned leaves and grass from the solarium. The bioshelter is located in the Chugach Mountains, so that during the winter we have no sun for about six weeks.  We are currently pricing solar systems to see if—even without sun for six weeks, it would be economically feasible for us.

AlaskanBioshelter & Permaculture Center

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