Not being from hurricane country, every time one of those behemoths slams into a coastal community, I ask myself why anyone would build there. We more or less know the line of fire and wouldn’t be a good idea to stay out of it? I’m sure though, that folks in Daytona probably wonder what’s up with us Left Coasters building on fault lines on in literal lines of fire as they watch homes shake and burn on their television screens. In any case, one company, though it didn’t really set out to to do so, has come up with a prefab home design that seems to be pretty much storm proof. They’re cool looking, too.
Deltec is a Northern Carolina-based – hello hurricanes – manufacturer of prefab, mostly circular homes that can be put together by your local contractor. You can get one for as little 100k for 300-ish square feet, but throw down 500 and you’re looking at about 5,000 square feet. These guys are way big on eco, too, with tons of green built into their homes and a manufacturing facility that boasts one of the largest solar arrays in North Carolina. They’re into extremely low-waste manufacturing processes, as well, and shoot for building with 100 percent renewable energy. They’ve even constructed a LEED Platinum home for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In the end, though, how green you go is up to you, as virtually everything these guys do is customizable. Kinda neat for prefab.
Deltec talks a lot about “kindship with earth” and “treading lightly upon it.” “Circular homes bring another dimension into our lives, one that is often forgotten, the dimension of a beautiful space linking us with our forbearer’s sense of free-living and connectedness to the earth.” Whatevs. Even they admit there’s nothing new about the round house. But round is good in terms of both functionality and strength. These homes have less exposed surface area, which improves durability and energy efficiency, and good aerodynamics. Says them: “There is not enough surface area on any part of the house for pressure to build up.”
Which brings us back to the hurricane issue. Deltac doesn’t claim to make hurricane proof houses, but it seems they do a good job of it – they got some great “still-standing” pics from Hugo, Dennis, Fran, Charley, Andrew and Katrina. In fact, says Deltec, none of their homes suffered any structural damage from the latter’s level-5-force winds, and two were hit by 20-30 foot tidal surges and winds of over 145. Not bad for no claims of being hurricane proof.