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NJIT professor says certain home shapes and roofs hold up best in hurricane

Certain home shapes and roof types can better resist high winds and hurricanes, according to a researcher at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Civil engineer Rima Taher, PhD, special lecturer in the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT, spent two years examining the findings of research centers that have studied the best designs and construction materials and methods needed to withstand extreme wind events and hurricanes.

Although Id like to say that there is a simple and economical solution for housing that wont fail or collapse in the perfect storm, such information does not yet exist, said Taher. However, it is obvious that thanks to the work of wind engineers and researchers that changes to home design and construction can make buildings safer for people, while saving government and industry billions of dollars annually.

Design of Low-Rise Buildings for Extreme Wind Events (Journal of Architectural Engineering, March, 2007) by Taher highlighted such research findings. Wind researchers at the Center for Building Science and Technology (CSTB) in France, researched and tested reduced-scale home models at its wind tunnel facilities, and developed a prototype of a cyclonic or hurricane-resistant dwelling. Taher cooperated with the CSTB wind researchers, working on the structural aspect of the homes design.

That design eventually became an elevated structure of a square plan form on an open foundation. The home had a hip roof and was equipped with a central shaft with aerodynamic features designed to reduce wind forces during an extreme wind event. Wind tunnel tests at CSTB showed that such a home would be far more efficient under high winds and hurricane conditions than a typical structure. CSTB is working with a builder to construct a prototype of such a home on Runion in the West Indian Ocean.

From this work and other studies Taher recommends the following construction considerations for homeowners in
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Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
sheryl.m.weinstein@njit.edu
973-596-3436
New Jersey Institute of Technology
19-Jun-2007


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