As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, every part of the globe has been affected — but in the United States, there aren’t many parts that have been affected more than Florida, which has been hit by ever-worsening destructive hurricanes and storms.
As a result, developers are beginning to design homes in the Sunshine State to be specifically hurricane-resistant, using building techniques that can withstand high winds and rain. At the same time, they are also designing them to be eco-friendly, using recycled materials and integrating clean energy, such as rooftop solar panels.
“The real magic here is that we’re doing both,” Steve Linton, the chief executive of Deltec, one such developer, told the Tampa Bay Times. “I think a lot of times resilience is sort of the afterthought when you talk about sustainable construction, where it’s just kind of this is a feature on a list … we believe that resilience is really a fundamental part of sustainability.”
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Deltec said that only one of the 1,400 homes they built in the last decade suffered damage from hurricane-force winds.
Pearl Homes, another developer, built an entire community of 160 LEED-certified platinum homes, all raised three feet above code to reduce their vulnerability to flooding, with roofs designed to withstand winds and backup batteries for when the power goes out.
“I wanted them to be not just sustainable, but resilient, I wanted them to be so unlike everything else that goes on in Florida,” Pearl Homes CEO Marshall Gobuty said. “I see homes that are newly built, half a mile away, that are underwater … we are in a crisis with how the weather is changing.”
This type of forward-thinking development could not only protect Floridians’ homes but also their ability to get those homes insured. In recent years, Florida has seen four insurance companies refuse to extend policies to homes in the state.
Designs that can withstand extreme weather events could make buying a home in Florida viable in the future — and more eco-friendly aspects of those homes could help cut down the planet-warming pollution that contributes to the extreme weather in the first place.
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