Proactive Solutions for Climate-Resilient Homes

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Climate change is occurring at an alarming rate. Research collected by NASA shows that sea levels have risen by 103mm in the past 30 years, carbon dioxide levels increased by 425ppm since 1958, and temperatures were 2.11F warmer in 2023 than the preindustrial average. 

These indicators of global warming drive home the fact that we will need to learn to live with climate change and should prepare by building climate-resilient homes. 

Climate-resilient homes can minimize our carbon footprint and help protect the local environment, too. Green design features, like solar panels and water collection, minimize waste and reduce the burden that houses place on the wider energy system. 

Disaster Proofing 

person near fire
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Climate change is causing more extreme weather events. With rising temperatures comes warmer oceans and increased precipitation. These factors combine to create more intense, longer-lasting hurricanes around the world. Climate-affected hurricanes also travel slower and raised sea levels may result in worsened storm surges and flooding. 

Wildfires are more likely to occur when global temperatures spike above average. Data collected by the US EPA shows that wildfire season begins earlier and that fires last longer, and burn hotter than before. This devastates local environments and poses a serious threat to modern homes. 

While little can be done to prevent a storm or wildfire, modern homeowners can take steps to protect their property against climate disasters. For example, folks living in areas likely to be hit by hurricanes and tropical storms can utilize technology to support home safety in a storm, like: 

  • Retrofitting old homes with hurricane straps that secure the roof to the walls, thereby minimizing the risk of a flyaway. 
  • Improving the quality of existing storm panels with polycarbonate or aluminum material can shield windows and prevent debris from causing damage. Polycarbonate panels allow light in, too, meaning occupants can see while hunkering down. 
  • Storm doors are designed to keep out floods and high winds. They have reinforced cores and impact-resistance glass, meaning homeowners’ doors can still look stylish while providing protection. 
  • Advanced air quality monitors help homeowners bounce back after an extreme event. They detect pollutants like dust and volatile organic compounds and ensure that occupants are not exposed to harmful conditions that have been kicked up by a storm.

Recent improvements to home design can help folks shelter in place when fast-moving wildfires hit, too. Installing protective features like double-glazing, fire-rated roof materials, and non-flammable siding can stop homes from turning into tinderboxes. Similarly, homeowners in rural areas should take care to create a non-flammable boundary around their community, so that fast-moving fires do not have anything to burn when they arrive at a town, city, or small community. 

Drought-Resistance

close up photo of watering crops
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Drought is becoming a serious issue for millions of people around the world. Despite heavier rainfall, many areas are experiencing longer, more extreme droughts during the summer months. This places a real burden on the water system and forces communities to adopt drastic water management systems. 

Homeowners can take proactive steps to build drought-resistant homes by installing smart devices that minimize water waste. Smart sprinklers won’t water grass when rainfall is due, and smart meters help homeowners identify inefficiencies. This empowers folks to make changes based on real data. 

Drought-resilient design doesn’t have to be high-tech, either. Instead, homeowners can install water butts and rainwater runoff collection tanks to capture more precipitation during the wetter months. This can make a world of difference during the summer when demands are high. 

Solar Energy

a person carrying a solar panel
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Our global energy demands increase year-on-year, yet we continue to source most of our energy from non-renewable, carbon-intensive sources. This undermines efforts to combat climate change and increases reliance on oil fields and natural gas. 

However, recent data from the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy shows that renewable sources are on the rise. In 2022, renewables actually surpassed coal as an energy source and are expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. 

Homeowners can combat climate change and increase the resilience of their homes by installing solar panels. Now is the perfect time to install solar panels, as recent upgrades to technology help overcome the biggest issues associated with solar, including: 

  • Improved PV Efficiency: New tech, like multi-junction PV cells, increases efficiency by up to 45% and minimizes energy waste. This maximizes the potential yield of panels and addresses inefficient issues. 
  • Reliability: Improved net metering means that users can now feed energy back into the grid. This gives customers credit with the utility firms and improves homeowners’ ability to benefit from stored energy. 
  • Optimization: Variation in solar intensity can be accounted for by AI-powered solar tracking devices that tilt the panels to point toward the sun. This increases yield and ensures maximum exposure is achieved. 
  • Lifecycle: Solar panels are meant to benefit the environment, not harm them. That’s why recent improvements to recycling and reuse are so important. Recycling and repurposing parts is good news for homeowners, too, who may benefit from selling their used parts in 30 to 50 years time. 

These changes emphasize the importance of effective solar installation, energy management, and recycling plans. They give homeowners a chance to proactively reduce their carbon footprint and are a key part of future plans to cap climate change. 

Conclusion 

Climate-resilient homes are designed to help homeowners to take proactive steps to combat global warming and extreme events. Even simple design changes, like installing hurricane straps, can help houses stand up to high winds. Features like solar panels and water butts can reduce the strain houses place on the environment, too, by minimizing energy and water needs. 

  • Katie Brenneman

    Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in sustainability, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. She is a graduate of UCR where she discovered her love for health, eco-friendly lifestyles, and writing. When she isn't article brainstorming, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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