[Ok-sus] The sustainability community and the recent tornado disaster

Tim Lovell tulsapartners at gmail.com
Wed Jun 5 12:37:05 UTC 2013

I really appreciate this discussion occurring on this network, and how to
integrate the severe weather of our region into sustainable housing.  I
agree with Maura's assessment of current housing. Wood frame can be built
stronger by providing a continuous load path anchoring roof to wall and
wall to foundation, and there is information available on such Fortified
construction at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (
disastersafety.org).   But in terms of life safety, an above or below
ground safe room is the best. Below is an article link on a survey done in
Moore on how the safe rooms meeting engineering specifications fared in the

There is of course nothing sustainable about taking housing debris after a
tornado to the dump, which is why building or retrofitting stronger is such
an important concept.  I am intrigued by the idea of a below ground
house, although in some of the cases the semi-underground houses I have
seen include windows at the front for passive solar, which might still make
them vulnerable to debris impact and subsequent wind and debris
infiltration. And the idea of housing materials being more sustainable post
disaster in some of the alternative housing is also an intriguing concept.
Nonetheless, I would still encourage integrating a safe room for life
safety as a part of these building strategies.


Tim Lovell, Executive Director
Tulsa Partners, Inc.
P.O. Box 2192
Tulsa, OK 74101-2192
(918) 632-0044

"Tulsa Partners is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization working to build a
disaster-resistant and sustainable community"

RAISE MONEY FOR TULSA PARTNERS by searching the Internet with
GoodSearch.com (powered by Yahoo), or shopping online with GoodShop.com

On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 10:23 AM, mauramcdermot.kerrcenter <
mauramcdermot.kerrcenter at ecewb.com> wrote:

> Apparently most frame houses cannot sustain an F5 tornado, but I sincerely
> hope those continue to be rare. I went through several hurricanes as a
> child in Florida, though none were as bad as Andrew. In Miami most houses
> are built from concrete block and codes require roofs to be built and
> attached to the house with extra strength to withstand many hurricanes. You
> get a lot of lead time with a hurricane, and we had wooden shutters we
> closed when a storm was coming to protect windows. There are very few wood
> frame houses down there. But even frame houses can be built with extras
> that make them stronger, though underground or safe rooms are really the
> ticket for ultimate safety. I had a house in Norman on Crawford St that had
> a half-basement that was pretty well drained….got damp but not wet and
> seemed to be a good space during a tornado—one hit a block away and took
> the roof off a car dealer while I lived there.****
> ** **
> *From:* Ok-sus [mailto:ok-sus-bounces at lists.oksustainability.org] *On
> Behalf Of *sjpratt at kanokla.net
> *Sent:* Monday, June 03, 2013 11:19 AM
> *To:* ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
> *Subject:* Re: [Ok-sus] The sustainability community and the recent
> tornado disaster****
> ** **
> You might recall that several years before Hurricane Andrew, Janet Reno
> (former attorney general) and her mother built a home in Andrew’s path that
> survived the devastation while homes around them were destroyed.    I don’t
> know if there are any online articles about how she built, but that might
> be something to check out.****
>  ****
> Sylvia Pratt****
>  ****
> Sent from Windows Mail****
>  ****
> *From:* Shelley Smith
> *Sent:* June 2, 2013 11:01 AM
> *To:* ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
> *Subject:* [Ok-sus] The sustainability community and the recent tornado
> disaster****
>  ****
> Any thoughts on how a straw bale home would fare in a tornado? Is there
> anything (outside of underground) that could survive an F-5? Maybe a rock
> house? I see a few old ones in Edmond and they sure look solid...****
>  ****
> I'm planning to build a new house in a couple of years so I have been
> following this discussion with great interest.****
>  ****
> Shelley****
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> Ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
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