Sustainable Building: What Qualities Make a Home “Disaster Resistant?”


The term “disaster-resistant” is thrown around a lot. But what does it mean in terms of sustainable building?

Nature offers many beautiful treasures, but sometimes, we get an ugly and costly surprise. Every year, natural disasters affect millions of lives across the globe. From hurricanes and tornadoes, to earthquakes and wildfires, homeowners in every corner of the globe face the threat of natural disaster. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a disaster-proof home – nature is very powerful and unpredictable. However, there are certain qualities of sustainable building that can make a home disaster-resistant.

What are these qualities? Are they truly worth the investment? What does disaster-resistance really mean? These are all questions you might be asking and here at Alternative Energy Construction, we have the answers.

The term “disaster-resistant” simply means that your home can withstand brute force, but only up to a certain capacity. Traditional construction incorporates a few disaster-resistance qualities, simply to keep the building standing during high winds. Sustainable building, though, opts for stronger, more resilient building materials (i.e. Insulated Concrete Wall Forms, reinforced steel, etc.) to deem the building disaster resistant, all the way to the foundation.

Disaster-resistant homes can withstand extremely high winds, upwards of 120-150 mph or more. By using strong and resilient materials, these disaster-resistant, sustainable buildings can also withstand strong vibrations during earthquakes and lock out moisture during high-waters.

In addition to being strong and durable, disaster-resistant materials also incorporate fire retardants, making the skeleton of the building far more resistant to fire and heat than traditional construction materials. To be deemed as a disaster-resistant sustainable building, all of the aforementioned qualities must be met. The building materials used must be fire-retardant, wind resistant, water resistant, and able to withstand brute force vibrations during an earthquake.

Traditional wood-frame construction allows for small movement of material during high winds and strong vibrations, but materials can give way if stressed too much for too long. The same is true with disaster-resistant, sustainable architecture. With this difference however, disaster-resistant materials allow for more movement and flex under brute force, meaning there is less of a chance for breakage and wear.

Disaster-resistant materials also create a barrier against water, eliminating gaps, and reducing the possibility of dangerous, structural water damage. Wood-frame construction, on the other hand, allows water to move freely between wide gaps between trusses and studs. Water moving freely underneath or through the home threatens structural integrity and accelerates the rotting of essential wood supports.

Disaster-resistant sustainable buildings are a threefold, moneywise investment. Protect your home, protect your belongings, and save on insurance premiums. Don’t join the millions affected by disaster – stand up and resist disaster, no matter where you are. Fires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes threaten life and property, but you can feel at ease knowing your home stands a better chance because you’ve invested in protecting yourself, your family, and your home.

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