October 26, 2017

Utilize Bautex Blocks in Hurricane Resistant Building Design

Hurricane resistant building design protects a structure and its occupants from high winds, tornadoes, rain, and flooding. In hurricane prone regions, hurricane resistant design is essential; a category one hurricane can destroy mobile homes and damage roof, shingles, gutters, etc., but a category five hurricane (like Irma, with 157 mph and more winds) can destroy framed and mobile homes and cause total roof failure and wall collapse. The dangerous winds of a hurricane can also transform debris into flying missiles that can penetrate walls and threaten lives. However, flooding during a hurricane, which occurs due to storm surges, rain, and river overflow, is by far the biggest threat to life and property. For instance, in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, 40 percent of the 1577 deaths were from drowning. Best practices for hurricane resistant design must protect from surging water levels, pounding rains, and damaging winds for the duration of storms.  

Best Practices for Flood Resistant Building Design

Best practices for hurricane resistant building design and construction in flood hazard zone must protect against flooding associated with storm surge and tide. Hurricane resistant building design must also protect against excessive rain. The design of a structure built in a flood hazard zone must be according to the American Society of Civil Engineers 24 (ASCE 24). The ASCE 24 is the referenced standard in the International Building Code® (IBC) and tells designers, architects, and builders the minimum requirements and expected performance for the design and construction of buildings and structures in flood hazard areas. Buildings designed according to ASCE 24 aim to resist flood loads and flood damage and complement the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements. Hurricane and flood resistant design in flood hazards zone should include elevated structures, materials that can get wet, and design assemblies that easily dry when exposed to moisture. Flood and water resistant design in flood hazard zones is essential in protecting a structure and the occupants during a hurricane event.

Best Practice for Wind Resistance Design

Best practice for hurricane resistant building design and construction must protect against strong wind and flying debris. A continuous load path is essential to holding a building together when high winds of a hurricane try to tear it apart. The continuous load path ensures that when a load, including lateral (horizontal) and uplift loads, attacks a building, the load will move from the roof, wall and other components toward the foundation and into the ground. A strong continuous load path is crucial to holding the roof, walls, floors, and foundation together during a hurricane event.

Insulated Concrete Blocks Create Hurricane Resistant Buildings

Buildings constructed with insulated concrete blocks (ICB) maintain their integrity during intense winds of a hurricane of over 200 mph. Buildings constructed of insulated concrete blocks are much stronger than steel-framed buildings and wood under extreme wind events. In fact, a study published by the Portland Cement Association (PCA), compared the structural load resistance of conventionally framed walls to insulating concrete form (ICF) walls. The study established that concrete walls have greater structural capacity and stiffness to resist the in-plane shear forces of high wind than steel or wood framed walls. The strength of concrete walls lessons the lateral twists and damage to non-structural elements of a building such as the electrical and plumbing. Utilizing insulated concrete blocks for hurricane-resistant construction can maintain a building's integrity during a strong wind event.  

Insulated concrete blocks (ICB) also resist damage debris flying over 100 mph. A study by Texas Tech University compared the impact resistance of wind driven debris between conventionally framed walls and ICF walls. The study concluded that ICF walls resist the impact of wind driven hazards while conventionally framed walls didn’t stop the penetration of airborne debris. Insulated concrete walls are the best protection from windblown debris to a building and its occupants during a hurricane event.

The Bautex Wall System Stands up to a Hurricane's Strength

The Bautex Wall System has the strength to resist the heavy winds and flying debris against even the strongest hurricanes like Harvey and Irma.  Both hurricanes had peak wind speeds at landfall of over 130 miles per hour. The Bautex Blocks meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA 320 and FEMA 361 guidelines in storm zones with wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour. The Bautex Block has the strength and mass to resist the impact to wind driven debris at speeds greater than 100 mph. In addition to severe weather resistance, Bautex Blocks have the thermal performance required by the IRC and IBC and are fire-rated, noise-reducing, and easy to install. Bautex Walls are a good choice when designing for hurricane-resistant construction.

In today's climate, where more frequent and severe weather events are occurring due to global warming, it is essential that construction in flood hazard areas practice hurricane resistant design. Best practice for a hurricane resistant building design protects a building and its occupants from high winds, flying debris, flooding, and rain. For more information on best practice for a hurricane resistant building design visit Bautex™ Wall System.  

Storm surge is a rise of water generated by a storm, above the predicted tides. Storm tide is a water level rise due to both a storm surge and the astronomical tide. During a hurricane, storm surges and storm tides can cause extreme flooding in coastal areas. In fact, in 2008 Hurricane Ike's storm surge and heavy rains caused widespread damage to southeastern Texas, western Louisiana, and Arkansas; killing twenty people, with 34 others still missing. And, many of the lives lost during Hurricane Katrina occurred directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge.

Global warming refers to the modern day rise in global temperature near the earth’s surface. The increase in temperature is due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases) in the atmosphere. The explanation for global warming is straightforward.

The sun’s energy falls on the earth as ultraviolet, visible (light), and infrared (heat) electromagnetic energy. The earth absorbs some of the sun’s energy as thermal energy. The earth reflects another part of the sun’s energy (infrared heat) back into the atmosphere where it either passes through the atmosphere or is reflected back to the earth’s surface. Nitrogen and oxygen, which are the dominant gases in the atmosphere, allow infrared heat to pass through the atmosphere, while the greenhouse gases absorb infrared heat and redirect it back to the earth. The more greenhouse gases there are, the more heat is redirected back to earth; hence the increase in global temperatures near the earth’s surface.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, before the Industrial Revolution (about the year 1800), levels of carbon dioxide were about 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv); current levels are greater than 380 ppmv and increasing at a rate of 1.9 ppm per year since 2000. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement) are responsible for the increase in greenhouse gases. Furthermore, because plants absorb CO2 (thus remove it from the atmosphere) as part of their biological carbon cycle, deforestation and also lead to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Adverse impacts of global warming are extensive. A few of the impacts include rising sea levels due to increasing rates of glacial melting, more acidic oceans due to increasing carbon dioxide levels, and more frequent and severe weather events - like hurricanes.

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