My man made stone home in Gulf Shores, Alabama got a direct hit in
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and kicked in Katrina.
Just as we hoped, the house stood tight. It got a LOT of press.
Now my friend is building a much larger hurricane proof house about 4
miles down from me from the same building system. I am doing a photo
journal of the process on http://www.ConcreteCottage.com
It is an interesting process to watch and as w/ all custon home
construction, esp using unconventional materials, there are headaches
along the way.
Interesting idea. The goal is to create a house that will be there
after a CAT 4 hurricane comes thru. As we have seen several times in
the last 20 years, the devastation is ENORMOUS.
The huge thermal mass in these blocks creates a house that is warmed
slowly by the sun, and cools slowly by radiation and convection at night.
However, a perhaps useful addition for thermal management is to drill a
well and circulate water in PEX pipes though the blocks. Well water on
the Gulf Coast will be roughly 70F. Water can then either be
reinjected to another well or drained to the surface.
The point here is that at a relatively modest additional cost, you can
keep the walls of this house near 72F year round with NO AC or heat
Added costs are PEX pipes, PVC headers to route water around doors and
windows, various connectors, drill a water well, operate a well pump,
and arrange for surface disposal or reinjection of the water circulated
through the house walls. if you already are on well water, the cost is
merely a pump that will deliver more GPM, and perhaps a deeper well.
Very interesting idea. It is so hard to find competent workers down
here, at present there is no official DAC-ART builder w/ his own crews.
Plus the houses are going up in various locations in different states,
not a cluster of localized construction, so usually entirely different
crews, and it is usually their first experience w/ the product.
But the problem seems universal down here that workers choose to not
look at the plans as they go about the day. The result is a re-occuring
To run water thru the walls, whould take a really conpetent & constant
level of supervision....any leaks would be verrrrrrry difficult to deal
with after the blocks are back-filled.
Leaks can be dealt with by pressure testing the PEX and fittings, PRIOR
to concrete pour. The PEX and its manifolds around windows and doors
has to be installed as each course goes up anyway. The PEX comes in
long enough lengths that there should be no splices of the pipe between
Yes, it would require DAILY supervision and a leak test prior to each
pour, but the rewards will be a house that needs only dehumidification,
and near zero utility costs.
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