Change Building Priorities

After all the death and destruction we have experienced in recent years from tornadoes, hurricanes and other extreme weather, it is clearly time to shift our thinking about the way we build. We have repeatedly wasted resources, time and most importantly lives, by re-building the same types of buildings that have previously blown away, fallen down and crumbled around us. Now we must re-evaluate our priorities and strive to meet the following goals when building structures:

  1. Implement measures that will reduce risk of casualties.
  2. Reduce downtime and disruption caused by damage.
  3. Reduce damage repair costs.

ICF Building Solution

The strength of a tornado in the United States is estimated using the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale). The scale has six categories from zero (EF-0) to five (EF-5) representing increasing degrees of damage.

To simulate the wind speeds present in tornadoes, the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University was the first to design an air cannon that could shoot 2x4s and other objects to duplicate flying debris conditions during high winds and tornadoes. Debris flying at over 100 mph passed right through a standard wood framed wall leaving inhabitants at risk, while an ICF wall with 2 1/2” of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam on each side of the concrete, was not damaged.

An ICF wall can offer a wind resistance of 250+ MPH which is equal to an EF-5 tornado. The strength is based on the wall’s composition of steel reinforcement and concrete. In addition, ICF walls are resistant to the water-damage often associated with tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms.

ICF construction helps to meet the priorities stated above by providing a secure structure for occupants, reducing damage to a building’s structure and reducing repair costs after an extreme weather event.


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