Power lines weave our communities into a network of interdependency. It is very efficient, but also vulnerable to natural disasters that can shut down an entire area. Trees fall, lightening strikes, and flood waters wash away support structures. Fixing this network may take days or even weeks.
You can’t stop the power from going out, but you can minimize the effects. The biggest danger from a power outage is freezing or heat exhaustion, because the HVAC isn’t running. That’s right. Not only does your air conditioning not work, but invariably your furnace or heat will also turn off, because the thermostat and fan rely on electricity. In any case, it is quite possible that the fuel lines were also disrupted.
What can you do? Well, you won’t miss what you don’t need. In other words, if you build a high performance super insulated house with LOGIX, it will be able to maintain a fairly constant temperature even without supplemental heating or cooling. Designing the house with passive cooling and heating based on the site location can even further reduce the need for mechanical support for heating and cooling.
And remember, solar panels don’t work during a power outage. For the safety of the line workers, the panels’ power inverters are automatically shut down during a power outage. A poorly insulated house will quickly reach the same temperature as the outdoors – and that could spell disaster.
Building with LOGIX effectively decouples comfort and safety from reliance on the grid. The less reliant the house is on power to maintain a comfortable temperature, the more resilient it is to natural disasters. So stock up on water and staples. Prepare for emergencies. Then be thankful to have built with the strong bones and blanket of insulation of LOGIX ICF.
Green has become the favorite buzzword. But what does it really mean? There are no right answers, but many ways of measuring green. Let’s try and get a sense of the big picture.
The overarching bottom line is that the balance between resource consumption to meet people’s needs and the ability of the planet to provide is getting out of kilter. We are exhausting the natural resources and creating an environment that is becoming hostile to our own well-being.
The first step is to ‘do less harm,’ which might apply to building construction in the following way:
- use the fewest resources possible,
- with the maximum usage out of each material,
- for the longest possible service life,
- and the least impact on the environment and humanity.
Considering the big elephant in the room is fossil fuel and resulting carbon emissions, the primary focus is on reducing energy consumption.
The Passive House and Net-Zero approach is to design to site to take advantage of passive solar design then insulate the house to a point of diminishing return. The remaining heating and cooling demand can be provided with small, highly efficiency mechanical equipment.
The future of green is to move beyond the ‘less harm’ concept and adopt a regenerative design approach to build up the resources and work back towards a better planetary balance. This redefines sustainability as the choices and actions that satisfy our needs, while making the world an even better place for our children.
How does regenerative sustainability apply to building construction? Consider this:
- create more resources than you use (gather water, grow vegetation, generate electricity)
- provide for a cradle to cradle use for all materials,
- that allows for continuous service life as the materials are re-used or recycled,
- and will improve the environment and humanity.
This visionary approach moves our thoughts into a pro-active mode of green, sustainability living systems. It’s our future. Let’s define it.
Building in a Tornado or Hurricane Alley is a bit like playing Russian Roulette. What are the chances of your home getting hit? Is it cheaper to buy insurance or try to fortify the house? Or do we build a safe room and surrender the rest of the house to Dorothy and Toto?
The LOGIX home that protected John and his family from hurricane Sandy.
The decision doesn’t have to be so complicated. If you have already chosen a Logix XtraComfortTM Homes for the benefits of energy savings, sound proofing and half a dozen other good reasons, the incremental difference to build a complete safe house is well within reach.
Solid reinforced concrete walls already provide the structural integrity and the anchoring of the walls to the foundation. The final step to stabilize the walls and protect the top is to add a concrete roof. Houses built with this 6 sided concrete shell design have performed well for over 50 years in the tough conditions in the Pacific Islands, withstanding F5 force tornadoes, typhoons, and even a Richter 8.1 earthquake. With a bit of additional engineering, such as a thickened slab and additional rebar connecting the concrete walls, floor and ceiling, the LOGIX ICF house can provide protection for the worst of storms.
What about design? The sky’s the limit! You can always build another frame roof over the top, but why not enjoy the benefits of the concrete? The roof can be sloped and even be stamped and stained to resemble a tile roof. It can also take on the look of adobe with parapet walls.
Another option is to put a concrete cap on just one section of the house. For example, you might select a media room with a small kitchenette and a bathroom. Using ICF for the surrounding interior walls and ceiling not only provides soundproofing, but can also be engineered to create a safe-room for tornados and hurricanes. The ICF for the remainder of the house provides an added level of protection for moderate to severe storms.
The best insurance to protect against natural disasters is strong bones. Build them now. Enjoy them for life.