Green Homes Need to be Safe Homes

I just read the following story to the listeners of our radio program this past Saturday and I thought you would enjoy reading it yourself. It comes from Page Ivery, an Associated Press Writer reporting from Richburg, S.C.

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“Researchers used more than 100 giant fans to create hurricane-force winds in an experiment Tuesday that crumpled an ordinary home within minutes but left a better-built home standing at its side.

Authorities said the experiment conducted in the cavernous Insurance Center for Building Safety illustrated the superiority of fortified building materials against materials and methods used in conventional home-building. 

"This is an opportunity to create demand for better construction," said Tim Reinhold, the center's chief engineer. The Richburg facility was built by insurance companies in a bid to find ways to reduce damages and losses from natural disasters.

The conventional home took minutes to collapse in 96-mph winds similar to those of a Category 2 Hurricane; once the house began to shake, the end came seconds later. Reinhold said the stronger house cost about $5,000 more to build but suffered only cosmetic damage in the same winds.”

Now I have lived on the Gulf Coast for over 20 years and let me tell you we don’t even get out of bed for a “Cat 2” Hurricane. And the “conventional home” or what I like to call a home built to obsolete construction standards lasted only minutes! It’s no wonder we see complete neighborhoods absolutely destroyed when serious Category 3 or 4 hurricanes hit somewhere along our Atlantic or Gulf Coasts each year.

And it’s my hope, with insurance companies taking such proactive steps in funding these facilities, that we will soon see greater rewards and incentives for green builders who incorporate design and construction methodologies that address regionally specific natural threats into their homes. And those incentives should also attract homeowners who purchase these homes. At a minimum their insurance premiums should be less than the “conventional” home built right next door.

For more information about regionally specific natural threats specific in your marketplace visit www.FLASH.org and you will be amazed just how many there are!

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