Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Home Shapes And Roofs That Hold Up Best In Hurricanes

Date:
June 21, 2007
Source:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Summary:
Certain home shapes and roof types can better resist high winds and hurricanes, according to new research. The researcher spent two years examining the findings of research centers that have studied the best designs and construction materials and methods needed to withstand extreme wind events and hurricanes.

Robert and Sandra Harris' elevated house was the only one left standing on Wiggins Street after Hurricane Katrina hit. They had mitigated their home in 1999 with Increased Cost of Compliance funds through the National Flood Insurance Program. They elevated their house above the required level in order to further protect against flooding.
Credit: Photo by Robert Harris, courtesy of FEMA

Certain home shapes and roof types can better resist high winds and hurricanes, according to a researcher at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Civil engineer Rima Taher, PhD, special lecturer in the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT. She spent two years examining the findings of research centers that have studied the best designs and construction materials and methods needed to withstand extreme wind events and hurricanes.

"Although I'd like to say that there is a simple and economical solution for housing that won't fail or collapse in the perfect storm, such information does not yet exist," said Taher. "However, it is obvious that thanks to the work of wind engineers and researchers that changes to home design and construction can make buildings safer for people, while saving government and industry billions of dollars annually."

"Design of Low-Rise Buildings for Extreme Wind Events" (Journal of Architectural Engineering, March, 2007) by Taher highlighted such research findings. Wind researchers at the Center for Building Science and Technology (CSTB) in France, researched and tested reduced-scale home models at its wind tunnel facilities, and developed a prototype of a "cyclonic" or hurricane-resistant dwelling. Taher cooperated with the CSTB wind researchers, working on the structural aspect of the home's design.

That design eventually became an elevated structure of a square plan form on an open foundation. The home had a hip roof and was equipped with a central shaft with aerodynamic features designed to reduce wind forces during an extreme wind event. Wind tunnel tests at CSTB showed that such a home would be far more efficient under high winds and hurricane conditions than a typical structure. CSTB is working with a builder to construct a prototype of such a home on Rιunion in the West Indian Ocean.

From this work and other studies Taher recommends the following construction considerations for homeowners in hurricane-prone regions.

  • A home with a square floor plan (or better a hexagonal or octagonal plan) with a multiple-panel roof (4 or more panels) was found to have reduced wind loads.
  • Roofs with multiple slopes such as a hip roof (4 slopes) perform better under wind forces than gable roofs (2 slopes). Gable roofs are generally more common because they are cheaper to build. A 30-degree roof slope has the best results.
  • Wind forces on a roof tend to be uplift forces. This explains why roofs are often blown off during an extreme wind event. Connecting roofs to walls matters. Stapled roofs were banned following Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1993.
  • Strong connections between the structure and its foundation and connections between walls are good. Structural failure is often progressive where the failure of one structural element triggers the failure of another, leading to a total collapse. Connections are generally vulnerable but can be inexpensively strengthened.
  • Certain areas of a building such as the ridge of a roof, corners and eaves are normally subject to higher wind pressures. In the cyclonic home design, CSTB researchers proposed some aerodynamic features to alleviate these local pressures such as introducing a central shaft which would function by creating a connection between the internal space and the roof ridge considered to be the location of the largest depression. This connection helps balance pressures leading to a significant reduction in the roof's wind loads.
  • Roof overhangs are subject to wind uplift forces which could trigger a roof failure. In the design of the hurricane-resistant home, the length of these overhangs should be limited to 20 inches.
  • The design of the cyclonic home includes simple systems to reduce the local wind stresses at the roof's lower edges such as a notched frieze or a horizontal grid to be installed at the level of the gutters along the perimeter of the home.
  • An elevated structure on an open foundation reduces the risk of damage from flooding and storm-driven water. 

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Home Shapes And Roofs That Hold Up Best In Hurricanes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619155735.htm>.
New Jersey Institute of Technology. (2007, June 21). Home Shapes And Roofs That Hold Up Best In Hurricanes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619155735.htm
New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Home Shapes And Roofs That Hold Up Best In Hurricanes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619155735.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) — Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins