Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

People may picture gray, claustrophobic bunkers when imagining structures that can stand up to the increasingly frequent extreme weather events linked to the overheating of our planet. 

However, there are a number of remarkable homes that don’t sacrifice comfort in the pursuit of safety, and the eco-friendly, alternative materials used in some of these buildings are gaining momentum in the construction industry. 

1. California home becomes first to earn coveted designation

After they lost their home in the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, California, the Ledbetters chose to rebuild with a wildfire-resistant structure that includes double-pane windows, vents that prevent embers from entering the building, and fireproof roofing. 

The features earned the new house a Wildfire Prepared Home Plus designation, making it the first in the state to receive the special recognition. 

“We worked with an architect and we were very deliberate about how we wanted to have a simple but attractive home. And we achieved that, we have that,” Gary Ledbetter told Action News Now. 

2. Lego provide inspiration for hurricane-proof buildings

Renco USA, a Miami-based company, is constructing homes with Lego-like blocks made of recycled glass fibers, recycled plastic, stone, and resin. The result is a building that takes less time to complete and can withstand up to Category 5 hurricane winds. 

“RENCO is greener and more sustainable than building with wood or concrete. And it will outlast any building system today, since it cannot rust or rot, termites can’t eat it, mold won’t grow on it and it’s fire retardant,” a company rep told Business Wire. 

3. Company draws upon ancient techniques 

Colorado Earth is constructing fire-resistant homes with ecoBlocks, which consist of crushed limestone, raw soil, and water. Because no heat is used in this method, there is less harmful pollution associated with buildings constructed using this New Zealand-inspired process. 

Even more exciting? These weatherizing blocks reduce the need for heating and cooling, and UC Davis professor and structural engineer Michele Barbato told CPR News that the blocks “actually get better with fire.” 

4. Hurricane-resistant homes leveled up 

Deltec Homes, which was established in the 1960s, has been working on a structure that can survive winds up to 225 mph — and it’s doing so at a facility entirely powered by clean energy. 

The shape of the latest model is one of the keys to the building’s resilience. According to Bloomberg, the “curvilinear” design “helps offset wind pressure by about 30%.” The company has a presence in 32 countries, having constructed more than 5,500 hurricane-resistant houses.

A project in Lakeland, Florida, is redefining community solar thanks to a joint effort among housing developer Highland Homes, utility company Lakeland Electric, and microgrid developer BlockEnergy.

Myrtlebrook will consist of 77 homes connected to a solar-powered microgrid. The self-sufficient system is expected to save the lucky residents money on electric bills and provide a backup power supply. 

“Our customers are less likely to see a blackout due to storms or squirrels or any sort of outside car versus pole type of situation,” Lakeland Electric manager Michael Dammer told ABC Action News.

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