Heat, Humidity, and High Winds: Details for the Intersection of Resilience and Energy Efficiency

Changing climates and increasingly severe weather demand adaptation in the delivery of high-performance homes.

For nearly 30 years, Auburn University Rural Studio has been designing and building homes in West Alabama. Through the Front Porch Initiative, Rural Studio also has been working with housing providers, supplying designs and technical assistance to construct beyond-code homes around the southeast.

This presentation will examine design and construction details of case study homes built in the southeast United States, with a particular focus on resistance to high winds as well as energy efficiency for mixed-humid and hot-humid climates. Differentiating between guidelines for protection of the occupant versus protection of the asset, we will discuss the integration of tornado safe rooms built to FEMA P-320 guidelines as well as FORTIFIED Home certification in high wind and hurricane zones.

After understanding the basics of resilient construction, we will examine how to incorporate resilient details without sacrificing energy efficiency. Case studies will examine homes that achieve FORTIFIED certification while simultaneously achieving a beyond-code energy certification, such as ENERGY STAR or even Passive House US (PHIUS). This presentation will illustrate how the intersection of multiple standards can impact implementation and certification.

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to evaluate and differentiate between resilience objectives for protection of the occupant versus protection of the asset and define criteria for selecting between various resilience strategies
  • Participants will be able to understand the primary methods for implementing resilient construction
  • Attendees will be able to identify potential challenges and opportunities in incorporating multiple third-party certifications into a single home and strategies to mitigate conflicts during the planning process
  • Attendees will be able to evaluate successes and lessons learned from case studies built across the southeast
09:15 AM - 10:15 AM
24 May 2024


Betsy Farrell Garcia
Assistant Research Professor, Rural Studio, Auburn University
Mackenzie Stagg
Assistant Research Professor, School of Architecture, Auburn University