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Wind Resistant Building: Protecting Sunset Green Home from the Next Hurricane

Hurricane Season in the Atlantic typically runs from the beginning of June through the end of November.  September is historically the busiest month of the hurricane season.  The Sunset Green Home team is grateful that September is over and we managed to get the house fully framed and reinforced with hurricane ties from Simpson Strong-Tie®, one of Sunset Green Home’s sponsors.  We’re lucky that – so far! – this has been the quietest Atlantic hurricane season in nearly 30 years.

If you don’t live in a strong wind zone, you might not be familiar with strategies for protecting a home against severe wind loads.  So what are Sunset Green Home’s hurricane resistant construction features?

Hurricane Strapping

For Sunset Green Home, hurricane resistant construction began with the project’s architect, Bill Heine, who evaluated the building’s vertical and horizontal load paths, and created detailed instructions for the number and types of hurricane ties required for the house to be able to resist both lateral and uplift wind loads.  These instructions were integrated into the architectural drawings for the house.  Hurricane strapping is required by the building code and, according to Simpson Strong-Tie, “is used to provide a positive connection between truss/rafter and the wall of the structure to resist wind.”

Sunset Green Home's architectural drawings with load calculations and hurricane strapping specifications

Sunset Green Home's architectural drawings with load calculations and hurricane strapping specifications

This short video, from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety depicts how hurricane strapping is used to create a Continuous Load Path (CLP) that enables a home to resist the force of strong wind events:

Hurricane ties come in many forms, some of which are seen in the slideshow below:

Continuous Sheathing

Installing continuous sheathing on the exterior of the home not only provides an airtight and water tight shell but, when tied to the foundation below and roof above, sheathing also acts as a barrier against hurricane force winds.  Zip System sheathing helps make Sunset Green Home better able to withstand high winds. 

Protection From Wind Borne Debris

The final element of Sunset Green Home’s hurricane resistant construction is our use of impact-resistant (IZ3) coastal Integrity windows by Marvin.  When flying debris shatters a window during a severe storm, a home is not only susceptible to water damage from rain entering into the structure, but an even greater risk arises when a window or door fails and a home becomes pressurized from the inside.  Wind pushing against the roof and walls from within a home can potentially lead to catastrophic failure – and can literally blow the roof off the house!  With reinforced sashes, frames and locking points, Integrity IZ3 windows meet International Building Codes for coastal areas in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.

Sunset Green Home replaces a house that was made uninhabitable when Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012.  The LEED for Homes green building program requires a project team to consider durability measures when designing a home.  We’re confident that we’ve applied the building code and have made additional elective enhancements that will carry Sunset Green Home through the next major storm.

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