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Blue tarps cover a roof
Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

Hurricane Mitigation Efforts Worth More than You Think

Stronger construction can minimize damage from strong winds, but an MIT study found that many valuations underestimate mitigation’s benefits by as much as 80%.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office reported that hurricane-related wind damage causes $14 billion in losses to residential properties per year. Boosting a home’s defenses again winds – strengthening roofs, for example – can mitigate some of that damage.

However, the savings-value assigned to mitigation efforts according to new research from MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub, the value of the stronger construction techniques used to mitigate wind damage may be drastically underestimated.

The research suggests that wind loss models for a specific property in Florida usually don’t account for the density and configuration of surrounding buildings. A home facing the ocean, for example, can expect the full weight of winds during a hurricane. But an offshore home will gain some protection by virtue of the other houses in their neighborhood.

According to the MIT study, neighborhood density and configuration could reduce these mitigation methods’ valuations by over 80%.

When accounting for neighborhood texture, the loss models found that $8.1 billion in savings could be achieved with the adoption of simple mitigation measures, including stronger connections between roofs – more than the $4.4 billion in savings determined under conventional loss estimation models.

Florida has a program to help with mitigation costs. See: State $10K Grants to Harden Homes: When Can You Apply?

Source: MIT News (07/11/22) Laurent, Andrew Paul

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