Hurricane Ian: Here’s How Sustainable Construction Materials Are Building Back A Stronger & Safer Florida

Sustainable Construction Materials

The need for sturdy and sustainable construction materials is clearly being felt post Hurricane Ian 

Now that a dreadful hurricane is over and massive rescue efforts are underway, Floridians are gearing up to rebuild their communities, this time with sustainable, strong, and disaster-resistant construction materials. 

And that’s undoubtedly the bright side in the midst of the calamity. 

You see, Hurricane Ian is the worst of all disasters most of us have seen in our lifetime, the last such tragedy being the Labor Day hurricane of 1935. The country has moved a long way since, only to realize now how helpless we still are in the face of such adversities. 

Already, 105 people have lost their lives in Florida, the hardest hit of all states, with Lee County reporting a majority of the deaths. 

It is truly a situation we never imagined we’d go through, and it’s not yet over. Homes are still flooded, communities are cut-off, and rescuers are conducting daring door-to-door searches to find and rescue survivors. 

Nevertheless, it’s time to rebuild 

Across the state, it’s a crisis of extraordinary proportions, so much so that some areas are being termed “a war zone.” 

However, it’s time we show resolve to stand strong and, above all, rebuild, as we’ve always done. 

In fact, as you may have noticed, people, non-profits, and administrations are coming together to rebuild the communities. And the biggest of all efforts are aimed towards rebuilding the destroyed homes. 

The result: while it’s still a long and challenging task to reconstruct on such a large scale, extensive rebuilding efforts are already underway. 

Even better, people are, by and large, switching to sustainable building materials for reconstruction. 

That sounds amazing for sure, doesn’t it? 

But why sustainable construction materials? 

 Sustainable Construction Materials

When we talk about post-hurricane rebuilding efforts, you might wonder why exactly to go for sustainable or green construction materials. After all, there are conventional materials popular for home buildings readily available on the market. 

Well, the reasons for the post-hurricane shift to eco-friendly building materials are manifold. So let’s have a look at what’s driving the change.

#1. Unsustainable materials aid climate change 

While tropical storms and hurricanes are no strangers to Florida, what made Hurricane Ian so devastating is climate change

How, you may ask? 

When Ian hit Cuba, the first country in its way, it was a category 3 storm. However, you’ll be surprised to know that it exceptionally strengthened over the Gulf of Mexico on its way to Florida. 

It happened because of the warm ocean water resulting from climate change, something meteorologists term “rocket fuel” for hurricanes. 

And that is precisely why Ian made landfall in Florida as a category 4 hurricane, bringing winds as extreme as 155 MPH, along with torrential rains and storm surges. 

So what does it have to do with building materials? 

You see, our traditional home building materials, like wood, vinyl, asphalt, etc., are highly unsustainable and contribute to ecological damage and climate change. That means by shifting to sustainable construction materials to build/rebuild your home; you can play your part in preventing climate change. 

In fact, this is one of the reasons why eco-friendly building products are so much sought after for post-hurricane reconstruction. 

#2. Shortage of construction labor and traditional building materials

Even before the hurricane, there was already a shortage of construction labor across the state. And add to that the ever-rising cost of labor and construction materials, which you’d have witnessed post-pandemic. 

Now that the rebuilding efforts are underway in full swing, builders, suppliers, and homeowners are all facing this twin challenge of labor and materials. 

But what if we told you that there is an efficient way out? 

Yes, there are alternatives!

Take SIP panel home kits, for instance, which are DIY-friendly sustainable construction materials and can build your home in less than a week. 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

There is more to such sustainable options to rebuild your home with ease, which we’ll see in a bit. 

#3. Sustainable materials are ideal for sturdy home construction 

For a long time, sustainable home-building materials have had the reputation of being frail and delicate. However, that is far from reality. 

As a matter of fact, sustainable materials make for a highly sturdy and disaster-resistant home construction. Also, in terms of longevity, they easily outlast their traditional counterparts on the market. 

So, you shouldn’t be surprised when you hear about these materials becoming more popular than conventional building materials. 

Especially after the scale of destruction that Hurricane Ian has left behind, we can feel the need for stronger and safer building materials. And sustainable building materials, with their high impact-resistance features and eco-friendly credentials, are clearly becoming the go-to choice. 

Which sustainable materials are aiding the reconstruction efforts? 

 Sustainable Construction Materials

Now that you’ve seen why sustainable materials have become a one-stop solution for post Hurricane Ian home construction, you might be curious as to which materials we’re talking about. 

Over the years, several innovations have come about among eco-friendly building materials to build a quick and robust home. And here are some of those materials driving the reconstruction efforts. 

#1. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as a quick and low-cost solution 

The impact of the hurricane in some counties has been so severe that homes are completely destroyed. And even if a home hasn’t faced destruction on such a scale, it’ll still need expensive repairs, which can take months. 

You may ponder, is there a quick fix?

Certainly, yes. 

Accessory dwelling units are the quickest and most cost-effective way to build yourself a cozy and functional home right in your backyard.

An ADU home can be built in as little as eight hours; all you’ll need is a team of three people and some basic carpentry and handyman skills. As such, you can use one either as a permanent home or a short-term accommodation while your actual home is under repair. 

Not to mention, there are junior ADUs that can be assembled within a span of hours and used as fully-functional office spaces by individuals and companies, notwithstanding their business worth and market size.

In fact, if something truly justifies the concept of a minimal yet efficient and all-inclusive home, it’s the accessory dwelling units. That’s because these homes are energy-efficient by design and can be easily turned into entirely off-the-grid homes with solar shingles. 

Further, the ADUs are very spacious despite being compact units and also let you customize the interior decor to your taste. 

In terms of size, you can get anywhere from a 384 square feet ADU to a larger 576 square feet. And since these homes are equipped with essentials like a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dinette, patio, and even a garage, you can rest assured of functionality and convenience. 

There’s more to an ADU:

You see, post-hurricane, the priority has shifted to homes that are sturdy enough to stand strong in weather extremities. 

To that end, an ADU is an ideal fit since it is built with high-quality recycled steel SIP panels that create impact-resistant protection. Meaning, with an ADU home, you can have a safe and cozy retreat in the worst of hurricanes and storms. 

#2. SIP panel home kits

One thing we have realized in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian is the need for disaster-resistant homes. 

And when building one such home, there’s no better material than SIP panel home kits made from recycled steel. That’s because not only do these panels make for highly sustainable construction, but they are also the strongest of all building materials. 

What makes steel SIP panels highly impact-resistant is the fact that they’re heavy-duty materials with the capability to withstand winds as high as 150-180 MPH. So a home built with these panels will no doubt stand strong in hurricanes like Ian. 

Also, SIP panel home kits provide earthquake resistance, allowing you to build your home in areas up to Seismic Category B. 

Impressive, right? 

Steel SIP panels are also quick to build sustainable materials

If you’re looking for strong and sustainable construction materials that also build/rebuild your home quickly, then SIP panel home kits are something worth considering. 

Just like the Accessory dwelling units, steel SIPs too are DIY-friendly since they feature a lightweight and less complex design. That allows you to construct your home well within a week with a team of five or even fewer people. 

Even before the hurricane struck, steel SIP panels were in high demand, given the post-pandemic labor shortage and the rising cost of construction materials. And now that we’re looking to rebuild our homes safer and stronger, we can’t overstate the importance of these SIPs. 

Bonus: structural insulated metal panels are the best insulants

Apart from the impact-resistant homes they make, SIP panels are also the best insulators, with 15 times more insulating properties than others. That means your home will keep naturally cool in summers and warm in winters, thus reducing the drag on your HVACs and bringing down utility bills. 

Sustainable construction apart, which materials should you look for everyday convenience? 

 Sustainable Construction Materials

It’s not just the homes that Hurricane Ian has destroyed, as it has also caused heavy damage to roads, power stations, and almost everything that came in the way. 

As a result, parts of the state are facing the worst blackout. And it will take a while when the electricity supply is finally restored. 

In fact, as per a Bloomberg report, some parts of Florida may not have electricity for a month. 

While it’s hard to cope with post-hurricane challenges like this, you can nonetheless make your everyday lives easier with these materials. 

#1. Solar lighting

With the electrical lines snapped and grids damaged, the blackout has turned out to be one of the worst problems. And the problem is only exacerbated after sunset when our homes go all dark. 

However, you can overcome this problem by getting solar-powered lamps for your home. 

Powered by solar panels, these lights are the best way to keep your home illuminated through the blackout phase. Also, since solar lighting is affordable and easy to install, you can replace your conventional lamps with these, thus saving more than 10 percent on your electricity

#2. Solar panels and shingles

You see, even as solar lighting can illuminate your home in the face of a power outage, we do need electricity for other essential purposes. 

As such, solar shingles and panels are the best way to have off-the-grid electricity in your home. And even after the electricity supply is restored, you can still use solar energy, thereby saving on your utility expenses. 

The final word

As you can see, sustainable building materials are the future of safe and robust construction.

Talking about Florida, sturdy and disaster-resistant construction materials are already leading the way in building back safer, better, and more sustainable homes. 

Looking for such eco-friendly solutions for your home? 

At Eco-$mart Inc, we’ve got the most extensive inventory of best-in-class green building materials readily available on a budget.


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