Sunday, August 30, 2009

Disaster resistant house

There are four kinds of disasters that people in the United States have to worry about for the sake of their house: Wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Each occurs in certain regions only.
In wildfire prone areas, use steel and concrete instead of wood, and have a pool in case there's a problem with the water supply.
Earthquakes are trickier, but ancient Asians found a solution: The Pagoda is a completely earthquake-proof building. You need to have a loose beam in a chamber, attached to the roof of the first floor. This absorbs most of the energy from the quake. When an earthquake strikes, the building shakes like a gelatin dessert, but is not damaged. Japanese engineers have adapted this technology to modern buildings.
Hurricanes offer two challenges: wind and water. The windows are generally the first thing damaged, due to flying debris. Authorities in hurricane zones advocate attaching plywood boards to windows, to avoid damage. Most houses built in hurricane zones are strong enough to survive it, but it is also a good idea to seal the house watertight in case of flooding.
Tornadoes are the big challenge. A tornado can easily rip a house out of its foundation and fling it hundreds of miles away. Authorities in the region advocate going underground, which is the only thing that protects people. Everything above ground level is instantly assumed lost. In which case, I suppose a redundant house, in which every room above ground has a nearly identical counterpart below ground, is the only solution. In the event of a tornado, move everything to the basement and continue your life as before.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Very interesting and smart post. Your ideas make sense, you know.^^

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