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June 10, 2005

PATH Unveils Two Storm-Resistant Houses

Mercedes Homes prototypes combat wind and rain infiltration

MELBOURNE, FL - The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) and Mercedes Homes celebrated the completion of two hurricane-resistant houses on Thursday, June 9 in Rockledge, Fla. In collaboration with PATH, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the University of Florida and the Florida Energy Extension Service, Mercedes has built prototypes incorporating technologies and practices that can make homes safer in Florida and other hurricane-prone regions.

PATH and Mercedes Homes celebrated the completion of two hurricane-resistant houses on Thursday, June 9 in Rockledge, Fla."This is an excellent example of a public-private partnership coming together for the benefit of our communities," said Paul "Buz" Ausley, HUD's Orlando field office director.

Even before 2004's devastating hurricane season, PATH and its partners were working with Mercedes to develop a hurricane-resistant model home that incorporated proven wind-resistant features, such as concrete construction, tie-downs, steel reinforcement, secondary roof coverings, and window shutters.

However, in the wake of last year's storms, PATH discovered that wind damage is only part of the story. Even homes that met current codes emphasizing structural integrity were likely to suffer significant water damage due to breaches in the roof, walls, doors, and windows. So these prototype homes included strategies such as outward swinging front doors, design modifications to keep water out of eaves, concrete coatings that prevent water absorption and other strategies to keep wind-driven moisture out of these prototype homes.

"Last year's hurricanes taught us that while home construction has come a long way since Hurricane Andrew, the industry still had a lot to learn," said Scott Buescher, chief operating officer for Mercedes Homes.

University of Florida will conduct a case study on the houses and incorporate the data into its engineering coursework. Additionally, PATH will work with Mercedes to conduct cost analysis on the new technologies and develop strategies to include the practices into future projects.

For more information:
Scott T. Shepherd

Content updated on 6/15/2005

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