Some builders are taking the concept of sustainability to a new level with homes that are built to withstand extreme weather conditions and disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes.
The Washington Post's Brenda Richardson talked to builders across the country who are focused on resilient design. They say that buyers are more aware of the importance of high-performance homes that will keep their families safe during events such as January’s historic East Coast blizzard and a rare tornado outbreak in late December in parts of the South and Midwest. In fact, a 2014 survey found that 63 percent of Americans plan to fortify or have already fortified their homes to protect themselves from severe weather events.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a resilient home — solutions vary from region to region. For example, siding could be formulated to be resistant to moisture and freeze-thaw in the North or for resisting hail and flying storm debris in the South. Richardson also interviewed a certified microbial investigator who identified "key considerations" for builders to take into account when building a resilient home:
- Build homes aboveground to avoid lower-lower flooding, and lessen potential radon infiltration
- Use high-quality housewrap to prevent penetration of exterior siding due to high winds and rain
- Choose specially treated drywall panels that can resist mold, mildew, moisture, and fire
- Incorporate daylighting strategies when constructing the home to ensure that natural light and interior temperatures will not be a hurdle for inhabitants during a power outage