Sketch of an Urban Heat Island Profile

Heat Island Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laborator Rural Suburban Commercial Downtown Urban Park Suburban Rural Residential Residential Residential Farmlanc of this excess heat is caused by dark materials such as traditional flat roofing materials absorbing heat. Not only do our cities tend to absorb a much greater amount of heat, but they also tend to displace trees and other plants that provide natural cooling. Plants help keep the surroundings cool by the process of transpiration which...

All Peril Coverage

I have been a homeowner for 25 years. During this period our home has always been insured with a type of policy called all peril. However, all peril does not mean it covers every possible type of damage. Typically, there are exclusions such as flood and earthquake. In spite of the work that I perform as an environmental consultant specializing in mold and water damage, until I began the research for this book, I have never had our home insured against flood damage. Our home wasn't in a flood...

The Ideal Wall

As long as the climate remained stable, it was possible to construct inexpensive energy efficient walls that were able to perform well in their specific climate zones. With climates shifting and becoming more unpredictable it is becoming more important for buildings to be able to deal with a wide variety of conditions. The advantages of heavy masonry walls have been discussed in earlier chapters however, their construction is often expensive and not enough builders are experienced in these...

Roof Uplift

Extreme Weather Worldwide

The same forces that allow airplanes to fly are exerted on roofs exposed to strong winds. The angle of your roof can make a great difference to whether your roof will stay intact or sail away like the wings of a plane. Research conducted by Clemson University at their wind load test facility has demonstrated that a category 5 hurricane can develop uplift as much as 100-pounds-per-square-foot. This is typically enough to lift a house right off its foundation. The lifting force is greatest for...

Insurance Financial Impacts and Assistance

Our homes are generally one of the most expensive investments we will ever make. Extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change are increasing the risks of our investments being destroyed. Most of this book has been about preventing or limiting damage to our homes by understanding the potential effects of climate change and the extra stresses that are developing as a result. Unfortunately some conditions will always exceed our ability to prepare our buildings to survive them. For...

Building to Last

In order for buildings to withstand problems associated with climate change, they must first be mechanically fit. By that I mean they need to be structurally sound and able to provide for our shelter and protection without being harmed by the elements. Using a body analogy, by German building biology practitioner Dr. Anton Schneider, our homes need strong bones and joints framing and fasteners . The building's skin exterior surfaces needs to be able to keep out the rain snow and wind, while...

Recognizing Problems

If the soil is at maximum expansion when a building is built then drying soils can cause the foundation support to subside leaving the building hanging. As the soils shrink around the perimeter a higher central portion of the slab will either suspend the edges of the foundation or the slab will crack and sink. When the center of the structure under a slab remains wetter longer and therefore stays higher, the most obvious manifestations of damage to buildings are sticking doors, uneven floors,...

Basement Foundations

Basements may be finished or unfinished. Sometimes they are fully underground, other times they are only partially buried, or buried only on certain sides of the home. Homes can also have a cellar which is an unfinished dirt basement. These buildings will generally have a raised foundation with a dirt hole. Basements are more common in some parts of the country than others. Where soils freeze in winter, basements are more common because they are also the foundation. The foundation must reach...

References

Expanding Soils and Shrink-Swell Potential. Understanding Soil Risks and Hazards Using Soil Survey to Identify Areas with Risks and Hazards to Human Life and Property. Gary B. Muckel, ed., United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, 2004. Chapter 1 Why Good Buildings Go Bad ACGIH, Bioaerosols Assessment and Control. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 1999. Chapter 2 How Homes are Damaged by...

Frozen Plumbing

The greatest antidote to worry, whether you're getting ready for spaceflight or facing a problem of daily life, is preparation the more you try to envision what might happen and what your best response and options are, the more you are able to allay your fears about the future. Frozen pipes don't actually rupture because of expanding ice increasing the circumference of the pipe, as is commonly believed. Instead the bursting of metal pipes is caused by increasing pressure from liquid water. In...

Typical Residential Lightning Protection System

Ing all the circuit breakers with these special breakers in a standard electrical box as an upgrade. It is generally a simple substitution for the regular circuit breaker that can be performed by any electrician. Have lightning rod protection properly installed for all buildings and trees that are at risk of lightning strike. Have lightning surge protection installed at the main circuit breaker panel for all electrical systems serving buildings in neighborhoods where lightning has ever struck...

The Importance of Lightning Protection

My family moved to Prescott, Arizona, in the late 1980s. Our home was a two-story on high ground near the middle of town. The public utility lines for our home ran along an alley at the back of the property. A transformer on the power pole served our home and our neighbors on either side. Arizona is known for some spectacular summer lightning storms. Since the power poles were clearly the highest point in the vicinity, I was concerned about lightning strikes. Shortly after we moved into the...

What You Can Do

When building or purchasing a home look for a roof with a slope greater than 3.5. The greater the slope the less likely snow or ice will accumulate. Know your roof's load capacity and don't exceed the load limit for snow or ice. If you live in an area not typically associated with snowfall Rigid insulation panels can help prevent energy loss from the basement and potential adfreezing. Rigid insulation panels can help prevent energy loss from the basement and potential adfreezing. assume your...