Energy Projects


In addition to our relaxing hot springs, we offer free daily geothermal renewable energy tours for guests to learn more about our energy saving projects. Simply check-in at the Activity Center by 1:45 PM or 3:45 PM to sign up for the one hour tour.

For a Chena Hot Springs Resort brochure on renewable energy, click here.

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In addition to producing 100% of our electricity from renewable energy, we are also very interested in looking at alternative fuels for transportation and to replace propane which is currently used in our kitchen, main lodge, and laundry. Beginning is 2008, Chena Hot Springs is planning to take advantage of excess power generation capacity during off-peak hours to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen will be initially mixed at low pressure with propane at a 15% to 85% mixture. This will reduce our propane needs on-site and help us move further toward our goal of being 100% independent of fossil fuels. Chena is also researching options for using hydrogen for transportation applications, in additional to exploring the use of electric vehicles. While Chena moves toward a hydrogen future, we are also doing what we can today to conserve diesel fuel. We are recycling used vegetable oil from our restaurant to use directly as a fuel, and also use fish oil biodiesel in some test applications. Our former V.P. of New Development, Gwen Holdmann, has a converted Jeep Liberty which operates off used vegetable oil from the Chena Hot Springs restaurant.


Water rams have been around since 1797, invented by Joseph Montgolfier. Here in Alaska they helped gold miners to supply water pressure to sluice boxes or dredges. In fact, an old water ram was found onsite at Chena and sparked the idea of having a ram pump in operation for our 100th anniversary in 2005. The main purpose of the installation was to provide gravity fed water for the greenhouses and gardens. All free of electricity! A small dam was built on Spring Creek 500ft upstream from the main hot springs area. This acts as our water source. 38°F water enters a 4” supply pipe with a screened intake. This water fills a 10ft tall supply tank. This supply tank is not necessary for the ram pump, but it leaves us with the option to use the pressurized water for other projects around Chena. From the supply tank water goes through a drive pipe to the ram pump. The water ram pumps 20% of the water into a 25ft tall 4200 gallon water tower, and the remaining 80% goes back into the creek. The water ram pumps 1200 gallons per day, which is more than enough to feed a drip irrigation system for all our garden areas and one of our greenhouses.

For more information on the water ram, click here to download an article published by Gwen Holdmann in Home Power Magazine about the water ram project.




Chena Hot Springs Resort has the only geothermal based district heating system operating in Alaska. The current system serves all 46 buildings onsite, from 300 to 20,000 ft. The first geothermal well at Chena was drilled in March of 1998. Today, all buildings are heated geothermally using 165°F water at 250gpm. This alone saves Chena an estimated $183,000 a year in displaced diesel fuel.


Chena Hot Springs is a participant in the Alaska Energy Association Anemometer Loan Program. In July 2006, a 100ft tall wind monitoring station was set up on a ridge 3 miles southeast of the resort at an elevation of 3500ft. The station will continually monitor wind speed and direction, which will be downloaded on a monthly basis. The station will remain in place for one year, after which it will be relocated to another site.

While Fairbanks is not known for its wind resources, a pilot program by Golden Valley Electric Association has identified a number of promising wind sites along ridge tops in Interior Alaska which could be developed for generating wind power. According to the 200m resolution wind resources map for the State of Alaska, the ridge where our station is located has a Class 5 resource, which, if verified, would be an excellent candidate for possible future development. The site for the station was chosen partially due to its close proximity to Chena Hot Spring's Aurora Viewing Yurt.

During the winter months, visitors are transported daily via Susve's (tracked vehicles) for sunset and aurora viewing tours. The Yurt provides a shelter during these tours, but there is no power available and lighting is via propane lamps. If there is a clear wind resource measured in the next couple of months, Chena would like to install a small generator and battery bank to provide power to the Yurt and improve our guest's experience on the hill.

To learn more about AEA's Annemometer loan program click here.


These solar water heaters are close-coupled solar domestic water systems made of all-glass evacuated tubular collectors with heat pipes, which are ideal for use in small units, houses and other applications where a cheap, reliable hot water supply is required. They can also be used together with an auxiliary electric boost, thus providing hot water even on a low-sunshine day.


The machine is able to process polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene.  In other words, all plastics numbered 2, 4, 5, and 6 can be used.  The device turns plastic into gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and a heavy oil called mixed oil.

For a cutsheet on these systems, click here.

For a diagram on how this system works, click here.

For a pricelist on these systems, click here.