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Louisiana State University Develops Storm and Flood Resistant Housing

Jennifer Martin, CSREES Staff, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2006 – Hurricane Katrina left over 250,000 homes uninhabitable, and many residents are now turning to new storm-resistant construction ideas. Louisiana State University (LSU) has answered this call by developing the Louisiana House (LaHouse) – a new storm and flood resistant shelter.

“It's unbelievable the amount of support we're getting for the concept,” said Paul Coreil, Vice Chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. “Can you show people, builders and contractors what's the best way to deal with these issues, particularly now that we've seen real life disaster with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita?”

The Louisiana House uses a number of protective measures to keep the home dry during a storm. These strategies include secondary moisture-protection systems for the roof, window protections to prevent wind-borne debris breaking the glass and to keep water out, good drainage planes, and elevating the house well above the expected flood level.

The project is designed to showcase solutions designed for Louisiana's unique climate and conditions. The house exhibits ideas to provide greater comfort, quality, durability, property value and better health with less energy, water, waste, pollution and damage from storms, termites, mold, decay and other hazards.

The house also features a “safe room,” which officials say could protect occupants by withstanding greater impact and higher winds than the remainder of the house. The room also doubles as a walk-in closet.

Additional features include a crawl space foundation with flood vents to allow floodwater to enter and equalize water pressure on the foundation during a flood and straps connecting the upper and lower levels are wrapped over roof rafters.

LaHouse is an educational outreach program of the LSU AgCenter. Starting funds for LaHouse were provided by CSREES. Private funds are now being used to complete construction.

To view the companion video news release on LaHouse, visit http://www.usda.gov/agency/oc/bmtc/vidnews.htm and scroll to “Hurricane Resistant Homes.”