Our History

At ACAT we are working to promote sustainable economic development on several fronts:

Membership Development

We constantly seek to enlarge and connect the network of forward-thinking individuals concerned with Alaska’s future. Sustainable development can play the central role in diversifying our economy, providing meaningful jobs while protecting the healthy ecosystems we treasure.

Our Path to Net Zero Energy Workshop Series actively promotes discussion of practical and leading edge economic options for new building and retrofitting by bringing in presenters from around Alaska and Outside on a variety of topics from lighting to solar thermal to Net Zero Energy modelling.


An important part of our mission is to educate people about the sustainable alternatives developed elsewhere that can be adapted to our unique climatic, geographic and cultural conditions. For instance, we have developed both large conferences and small workshops on issues relating to sustainable development.

Project Development

ACAT board directors and members lead and assist with projects to research, demonstrate and apply sustainable economic development technologies. Some of our past projects are highlighted elsewhere on this site, and we are currently seeking funding for projects to:

      • Increase the network of people and organizations aware of and supporting sustainable development as an economic engine for Alaska,
      • Educate utility, community and business leaders about hydrogen fuel cells and other alternative methods to produce electricity, and
      • Develop an electronic database and information clearinghouse organized around the principles of sustainability, especially as it relates to northern latitudes.

Do you believe Alaskans can have meaningful jobs AND a healthy environment? Do you want to support efforts to develop a diverse, stable and sustainable Alaskan economy? Please help us by becoming a member!

ACAT continually strives to demonstrate how appropriate technology can promote sustainable economic development by diversifying Alaska’s economy, encouraging self-sufficiency and protecting the environment. Our past projects include:

      • Writing, compilation and editing of “Northern Comfort – Advanced Cold Climate Home Building Techniques” (ISBN 0-9636075-0-2, 1995), a manual on energy-efficient construction methods. For this project, ACAT worked under contract to the Alaska Craftsman Home Program (1992-1993).
      • An extensive research and development project produced a medium-density fiberboard (used in cabinets and countertops) made from 100% recycled wood and paper fiber. This project progressed from the conceptual stages, to development of a product for structural testing, to complete testing to ensure the product met all engineering standards, and finally to a feasibility study to determine whether a manufacturing plant would be appropriate in south-central Alaska (1993-1999).
      • Development of a composting workshop at the Alaska Environmental Forum and a complementary guest-lecture series on vermi-composting by “Worm Expert” Mary Appelhof. Appelhof spoke not only at the Forum, but also to Master Gardener and teacher groups in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley (April 1999).
      • A community composting project in the Butte area (1993-1996), where ACAT’s project leader organized community volunteers to turn yard and other organic “wastes” (otherwise destined for the landfill) into valuable compost.
      • Organizing and coordinating a tour of the first fuel cells ever installed in Alaska, at the National Guard Armory in Anchorage (February 1997).
      • The first (and only, that we know of!) straw bale construction workshop in Alaska (August 1996).
      • Energy efficient lighting, appliance and building design/construction displays at the Alaska State Fair (1992-1994).
      • Preliminary architectural work to create a “concept design” for a large Center to demonstrate and educate about the role sustainability can play in healthy economic development (1996).
      • Three “Trash-to-Treasure” conferences (1993, 1995, 1997), with participants from throughout Alaska, have highlighted what materials are currently considered ‘trash,’ how those materials might be recycled/remanufactured into saleable goods, and how local remanufacturing can diversify local economies.