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Protect Your Family from Summer Storms

The weather is getting increasingly unpredictable with tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes wreaking havoc on lives and property. It’s no surprise that homeowners are opting for structures they know can resist adverse weather phenomenon to keep their families and investments safe. ICFs are being touted as the best defense against inclement weather, here’s why.
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Building for Bad Weather: Homes that are Safer and Stronger

Amvic Blog - Energy Efficient Retrofit
The Atlantic storm season runs from June 1st to the end of November. In the past few years, the country has experienced an above average number of storms that have wreaked havoc on homes and buildings in the path of hurricanes and tornadoes.

Thankfully, this year will see a brief reprieve thanks to the El Niño effect which makes it difficult for hurricanes to form. Predictions from Colorado State University put the number of tropical storms around 7 with 3 expected to develop into hurricanes. This is well below the average of 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes.
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Storm Season Preparation

Over the last three decades, warmer oceans have increased water vapor levels by 15% in the North Atlantic. This has led to a massive 50% increase in the severity of storms over the same period according to a recent study by MIT’s Kerry Emanuel. The last three hurricane seasons have been the most devastating in recorded history. If you are facing a big storm this summer, there are ways in which you can reduce damage to your property and keep your family safe. Read more

Severe Storms: Tips to Prevent Damage to your Home

As the effects of global warming take hold, severe storms become an increasingly common phenomenon. The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season was particularly fierce and destructive, tying with 2010 and 2011 (noticing a trend here?) as the third most active storm season in recorded history. Hurricanes have been responsible for catastrophic damage to property and tragic loss of life. While efforts to reduce the severity of these storms are part of a long-game battle against climate change, there are precautions you can take in the short term that will help you to secure your property and keep your family safe. Here are FEMA’s recommendations for securing your home.
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Green building techniques for flood-safe homes

Our rapidly changing weather has led to a dramatic increase in the number of violent storms. The water vapour level in the Atlantic Hurricane zone has increased by 15% from what it was 30 years ago, resulting in more category 4 and 5 hurricanes. Climate change and its resultant warming of the oceans has increased not only the frequency, but also the severity of tropical storms. These days, it never rains, it pours.

Areas previously immune to the ravages of floods have been inundated. As people rebuild homes, cities and infrastructure, they are only too poignantly aware of the need to build structures that will protect their occupants not only from flooding, but also from the possibility of tsunamis and rising sea levels. Property damage and loss are major setbacks for families and businesses. Can we build structures that can withstand floods and keep our families safe?

Making a stand with floating houses


The ultimate in flood-safe housing are floating homes. Brad Pitt, responsible for much of the reconstruction in New Orleans in the post Katrina era through his ‘Make it Right’ foundation, has unveiled the Float House, the brainchild of Morphosis Architects. In the event of a flood, the house disconnects from its utilities and rises by up to 12 feet, anchored by two posts to its position. Batteries enable occupants to have power for three days, allowing ample time for help to arrive. Architects in the Netherlands have long been working on floating houses to combat the reality of rising sea levels and the threat that these pose to large swaths of the country. Here, the houses are not designed to cope in the event of flooding, but to rise and fall with the tide. The houses were created by DuraVermeer and WaterStudio as a kind of amphibious architecture. 26 of these amazing homes have been built in Massbommel in the Netherlands. The homes are able to rise by up to 13 foot while maintaining utilities.

The ICF option

ICFs or insulated concrete forms, are constructed using Styrofoam blocks. The Styrofoam blocks are stacked, reinforced with rebar and filled with concrete. So strong are the buildings made from this revolutionary green building material, that they are able to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fires. ICF buildings have proven to be so safe that the use of ICF building technology has increased by 73% in the last 5 years. Everyone from the military to schools are utilizing ICF green building practices to create safe, healthy and energy efficient structures. There are many advantages to building with ICF technology in areas frequented by floods. Stronger by far than conventional housing systems, the ICF house will withstand the pressure of flooding and is impervious to the damage and rot seen in its wood-frame counterparts. Concrete absorbs very little water when exposed to extended periods of flooding. Its strength and resistance to moisture are the reasons most dam walls and levees are constructed of concrete. Concrete walls offer no purchase for mould, forming a structure that is highly resistant to the mould and mildew associated with humid climates or flooding.

Prevention is better than cure

If flooding is imminent, there are a few precautions you can take to keep your home from flooding.

  • Pile the soil up around your home so that water drains away from your building.
  • Keep basement drains and storm drains around your neighbourhood clear of debris and roots. /li>
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and ensure that water from the roof drains at least 4 feet from the house.
  • Seal cracks in the foundations, walls or chimneys.
  • Move appliances and furniture to the upper floors of the building or place them on counter tops and tables.
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies before they become a hazard.
  • Collect valuables, important documents and emergency supplies (especially water) and head for higher ground.

Tilt-up Building Revolutionized

Amvic combines the best of ICF building with tilt-up technology to create the EnerTILT system

The copious advantages of building with concrete are already well established. Concrete is impervious to the destruction caused to wood framed homes by rodents and insects. Mould and mildew also hold no sway and concrete structures are known for their resilience to extremes in inclement weather. Earthquake and fire resistant, concrete structures enjoy lower insurance premiums than their wood framed counterparts. Concrete walls offer increased noise reduction and lower heating and cooling costs. Read more

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