Five years after Hurricane Michael’s devastation, Bonny Paulson’s uniquely rounded, ship-like home on 14-foot pillars in Mexico Beach, Florida, remains a testament to resilient architecture. It withstood the Category 5 hurricane with minimal damage, amidst the destruction of neighboring structures. This home is part of a growing trend where developers focus on building structures that can endure the ferocity of hurricanes while also being environmentally conscious.
These modern homes integrate solar panels fitted to resist high winds, utilize preserved wetlands and native vegetation to sequester carbon and mitigate flooding, and employ recycled or advanced construction materials to reduce energy consumption. The construction industry, responsible for a significant portion of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, is witnessing a transformation as homes like these aim to reduce the carbon footprint of their inhabitants.
Deltec, the builder of Paulson’s home, boasts an impressive record of hurricane resistance in their constructions, with only one structural failure in nearly 1,400 homes over three decades. Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their use of high-quality insulation, heat pumps, energy-efficient appliances, and solar power.
In Cortez, Florida, Pearl Homes is developing the Hunters Point community, consisting of LEED-certified platinum homes. These homes are elevated to counter flooding risks, have steel roofs designed for solar panel integration, and are equipped with batteries for power outages.
Babcock Ranch in South Florida, branding itself as the first solar-powered town in the U.S., survived Hurricane Ian with negligible damage. The town’s design includes hurricane-resistant features such as strapped roofs, underground power lines, outward-swinging doors, and pressure-balancing vents.
In the Florida Keys, another Deltec home is underway, reflecting the owners’ desire for a sustainable and storm-resistant living space. With energy costs significantly lower than conventional homes, these structures are not just environmentally friendly investments but also offer peace of mind in the face of increasing climate change impacts.
These pioneering developments are redefining the standards for housing in hurricane-prone and environmentally sensitive areas, proving that sustainability and resilience can go hand in hand.