This past year has seen a surge of strange and extreme weather conditions in all parts of the country. From the destructive Dericho storm that raced through the Mid Atlantic states to the powerful swath of tornadoes that tore through the Midwest, few communities were spared a taste of mother nature's fury in 2012.
One homeowner in Springfield, Missouri is hoping to build a fortress against such treacherous weather by combining energy efficiency with durability in the construction of his new house.
Dan Chiles, a former Springfield City Council Member, started construction on his ultra-modern three-story home in January. He had been discussing building a property that could double as a comfortable residence and a tornado shelter for over two years. Following a rough tornado season in 2011, he decided there was no time to wait.
The 2,400-square foot, three-story structure is encased in four inches of steel-reinforced concrete, which Chiles expects will help it withstand even the most powerful wind gusts. Chiles incorporated a flat roof into the structure in an attempt to prevent it from flying off during high winds, securing the building's structural integrity.
Along with being able to endure extreme weather, Chiles is aiming to have the home produce as much energy as it uses, making it independent of the power grid should there be a widespread blackout. In theory, the house could power itself through almost any weather event.
The home is in the final phases of construction, with habitation planned for early September or late October.
As the weather gets more unpredictable every year, homeowners should take steps to insure their properties are safe during extreme weather events. To insure this, a home inspection can highlight weak spots throughout a structure that may be vulnerable to high winds or flooding.