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Defying the disaster: Researcher explores resilient housing
Date:2/19/2009

Researchers at North Carolina State University are determining ways to speed the return of residents to their homes in the wake of natural disasters.

The first step is providing better, more accessible information about available tools and technologies to homeowners, builders, architects and others says Dr. Dave Tilotta, associate professor of wood products at NC State.

In the first part of a multi-phase study examining the resilience of homes in the southeastern United States, Tilotta and his collaborators spent more than a year surveying and interviewing homeowners, home industry professionals, inspectors and other stakeholders to determine the greatest needs in constructing a natural disaster resilient home.

"We then compared those needs to resources and technologies that already exist to determine the research and education gaps," Tilotta says.

The study showed four key research or education areas where homeowner needs are currently unmet:

  • Assessing, responding to and mitigating mold-related problems;
  • Providing new materials and retrofitting homes to make them resilient;
  • Providing homeowners and builders incentives tax breaks, insurance premium discounts, etc. to build or retrofit homes or build resilient homes;
  • Providing education and outreach for new and existing resilient technologies.

"One example of an education and outreach gap we found is that many people want more information on the prevention of housing damage from natural disasters," Tilotta says. "The Federal Emergency Management Agency and American Red Cross, for example, have tons of prevention materials. So, where is the disconnect? Is it the way the materials are packaged? The next stage of our study is to figure out what avenues we can use to reach more homeowners especially young homeowners so that they know what they can do to prepare their homes for natural disasters."

NC State researchers are cur
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Contact: Caroline Barnhill
caroline_barnhill@ncsu.edu
919-515-6251
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

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