May 22 marks the one year anniversary of the devastating F5 tornado that cleared a one mile wide by 14 mile long path of destruction through Joplin, Missouri.
Older wood-frame homes were destroyed in the storm, leaving many fixed income elderly residents homeless. A local faith based organization, Convoy of Hope, is partnering with PCA member Monarch Cement and TF Forming Systems, an insulating concrete form (ICF) manufacturer, to build at least 18 energy efficient and disaster resistant concrete homes.
The new resilient and sustainable homes will provide safety, security, and comfort for the residents. “One of the home owners was on a level pay of $200 a month for her gas bill, and was paying another $50 a month for electric. She wouldn’t turn the heat on unless it was so cold she couldn’t stand it,” explains George Van Hoesen, General Contractor and energy expert. “She couldn’t afford to eat, pay for insurance and pay her utility bill.”
With insulated exterior concrete walls, her total utility bill will be under $75 per month, allowing her to afford everything needed to live comfortably. Van Hoesen has built energy-efficient wood frame homes for many years. He estimates the use of panelized ICFs, with fewer seams and less need for air sealing will reduce construction time by two to three weeks per home.
The homes are being built to exceed the resilient requirements of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s FORTIFED for Safer Living program. Doug, a resident honored for his heroic efforts in digging neighbors out from under piles of wood and debris, is thrilled to be moving into a strong, durable concrete home.
While many of his neighbors are considering installing safe rooms, Doug says "I don’t need a safe room. I have a safe house."
The first of the homes is due to be complete and ready for occupancy at the end of the month.