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Future-proofing homes against weather events

Another major storm reminds builders and owners of the value of resilience.

Commercial and residential insured property losses caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Carolinas were projected to rise up to $5 billion at the time of reporting, according to financial and property data firm CoreLogic. The estimate excludes related losses that are surely to result from rainfall and flooding. All told, more than 250,000 homes are projected to be affected by the hurricane.

With each year’s big hurricane, the construction industry contemplates incorporating “future-proofing” measures into its business practices. How can buildings be designed, engineered, and constructed to survive serious elemental threats such as hurricanes for multiple generations? How can modern construction approaches, materials, and systems be applied to make buildings more durable?

A way to answer those questions is to think about design and construction in terms of resilience — the capacity of a building to maintain or regain functionality quickly after an interruption. As an on-site, on-demand energy source, propane can make buildings and communities more resilient. And choosing applications fueled by propane enables construction professionals to improve the value of the homes and buildings that they offer homebuyers. Here’s how:

  • Whole-house backup generators: Automatically kicking in when needed, a backup generator can be used to power vital systems, such as the sump pump, HVAC system, or refrigerator, protecting a project from costly repairs, cleanup, or lost inventory.
  • Fireplaces: Propane-powered fireplaces provide the light and warmth homeowners want, even when the power is out. Advanced pilot ignition systems can light the pilot only when needed when supported by a battery backup system.
  • Space heating and water heating: When a home’s or building’s critical heating systems are fueled by propane, less backup power is needed for electricity. That means builders can downsize to a less-costly generator or use it to power other vital building systems.
  • Cooking: Propane stoves provide uninterrupted cooking during blackouts without the need to maintain a charcoal grill.
  • Renewable energy backup: Propane works in tandem with another key resilience strategy — renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. With propane generator sets designed for these hybrid energy applications, a development won’t be reliant on the whims of the weather for its on-site power.

Published October 23, 2018

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