Structural Insulated Panels Were Used to Rebuild After Hurricane Katrina - 26 October, 2011
The versatility and flexibility of structural insulated panels came to the rescue when these materials were used to rebuild homes after communities all over the Gulf Coast of America from Florida to Texas were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Many of the first structures that were created as the community began to recover were made of SIPs, as they were just the right material for the situation for many reasons.
Hurricane Katrina occurred in 2005, and was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the USA and one of the top 5 deadliest hurricanes of all time. At least 1,836 people died in the hurricane and the flooding which occurred afterwards, and a total of $81 billion USD of property damage was reported.
The worst damage was caused in Mississippi, where flooding was so bad that boats and barges were ramming into buildings and waters were rising 6-12 miles from the beach. Homes were destroyed, families were ripped apart, and lives were changed forever.
Volunteers Rebuild Homes
In the autumn of 2005, a charity called YouthBuild USA worked to build 140 units of housing in the community of North Gulfport, Mississippi, which was a very low-income community which was completely destroyed by the hurricane. Hundreds of volunteers devoted their time and efforts to constructing homes for the hurricane survivors who had lost everything they had.
The YouthBuild project used structural insulated panels to construct the homes for the people of North Golfport. They brought in a large amount of pre-cut panels made from polystyrene and concrete, and they assembled these on site. Housing for the entire community was built from this sturdy and versatile material.
Why Use SIPs?
The rebuilt homes constructed with SIPs to rebuild the communities were strong and sound, as well as being very affordable and environmentally friendly. The SIPs used eliminated the need for conventional-style wood framing and insulation, and they contained no hazardous or toxic materials like fibreglass insulation. Another advantage to using this material is that it greatly reduced the amount of construction waste compared to more traditional wood frame methods of building homes.
The very first privately owned home to be rebuilt after the hurricane was in Waveland, Mississippi. Construction began on the home in June 3 of 2006 and the house was completely framed in by June 5th. This demonstrates the incredibly speed with which structural insulated panel houses can be constructed.
The SIPs houses that have been built in the United States to replace the homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina have terrific insulation properties which will keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The SIPs are also highly resistant to mould and pests, as well as fire, natural disasters. In fact, SIPs are designed to withstand storms, earthquakes, and of course hurricanes, so if another natural disaster strikes the area there will be much less repair and reconstruction needed.
SIPs were an ideal building material to use when reconstructing homes of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, due to their many beneficial properties.
Why were structural insulated panels used in the construction of houses when rebuilding from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina?