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Archives for February 10, 2016

New bank heads for Bielenberg Gardens development

With sites in Maplewood, Lake Elmo, Eagan, Shoreview, and downtown St. Paul, City County Credit Union plans to construct a 4,006-square-foot financial institution with a drive-thru in the Bielenberg Gardens development, south of Bailey Road.

The business is consistent with the Urban Village planning process used by Woodbury officials to plan the Bielenberg Gardens retail development area, according to Woodbury Community Development Technician Gina Gore.

Access to the site will be through numerous private streets constructed as the Bielenberg Gardens project is built out, she said. The business will have 22 parking spaces, and the drive-thru will be built to accommodate stacking of five vehicles per lane.

In accordance with the requirements of the urban village, the materials used on the exterior of City County Credit Union will be consistent with the exterior of neighboring buildings. The urban village plan also calls for landscaping on properties, so a perennial garden is planned for the site. A small patio is planned next to the garden, Gore said.

According to City County Credit Union President Patrick Pierce, construction is scheduled to begin in the spring, and conclude in December 2016 or January 2017. Pierce plans to have four employees at the Woodbury location.

Tamarack Hills

The other project approved by the planning commission was for a 19,600-square-foot office building in the Tamarack Hills II development off of Bielenberg Drive.

Access to the office building will be through roadways constructed when the neighboring Sheraton Hotel was built, according to Woodbury Senior Planner Eric Searles. Sidewalk access to the site ties into the pedestrian system that was built as part of the Sheraton project, as well.

The exterior of the office building will be complementary in design to the other office buildings previously constructed as part of the Tamarack Hills development. A total of 98 parking stalls are planned for the site.

Both projects were approved by the Woodbury Planning Commission at its Feb. 1 meeting, and next go before the Woodbury City Council later this month.

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FREE Passes to Lansing Home & Garden Show

For dates and times click HERE.

This a voucher that needs to be exchanged for the ENTRY pass and is not designed to be the entry pass. This voucher will not get you into the show.

You MUST pick-up the passes by Monday March 14th at 4:30 P.M., at the lobby of the Lansing State Journal, located at the Knapp Center, 300 S.Washington Square, Suite 300. 

Any passes not picked up by that date, will be available to Insiders on the waiting list.

If you reserve passes and your plans change, please cancel, so that others have the chance to reserve.


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Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green sell Toluca Lake home

Actors Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, who are in the process of divorcing, have begun to unload their real estate assets. The estranged couple recently sold a home for $2.6 million in an off-market deal and put another on the market for $1.299 million. On the sale side, Fox and Green parted ways with their ranch-style house in Toluca Lake that was originally part of an estate owned by Bing Crosby. Built in 1936 and remodeled in 2008, the home features raised ceilings with exposed beams, rows of skylights, a library and a rec room. A wall fireplace divides the open-plan living room and kitchen, which has a center island topped with Australian opal granite. The master suite has his-and-hers bathrooms, a pair of walk-in closets and a lofted bonus area. There are four bedrooms and six bedrooms in 6,710 square feet of living space. Outdoors, mature oaks and olive trees fill the 1-acre setting. A saltwater swimming pool, a spa, a fire pit and a 563-square-foot pool house with a kitchen are within the grounds. They bought the house two years ago for $3.35 million, records show.

For sale in Sherman Oaks is a 2,500-square-foot home owned by the couple since 2012. The single-story Traditional has an open-plan great room, kitchen and dining area. A den/office, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a powder room complete the floor plan. A stacked-stone outdoor fireplace, a koi pond and a waterfall highlight the grounds.

Fox, 29, is known for the “Transformers” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” action films. She will reprise her role as April O’Neil in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” due out in June. Green, 42, starred in the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” series. “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Anger Management” and “Desperate Housewives” are among his other TV credits.

A fashionable look in the hills

Renowned fashion designer Bob Mackie has put his home of more than a decade in Hollywood Hills West on the market for $2.175 million. The ranch-style house on a corner lot was built in 1962 and has five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in more than 3,400 square feet of living space. The home features a living room with a midcentury-style rock fireplace, a formal dining room with built-in shelves and an office. A burnt orange backsplash and island countertop lend pops of color to the eat-in kitchen. One of two master suites has adjacent built-in bookshelves, a sitting area and French doors that open to a trellis-topped sitting area. A patio patterned in herringbone brick, a swimming pool and drought-tolerant landscaping make up the one-third-acre grounds.

Mackie, 75, is a nine-time Emmy winner and three-time Oscar nominee who dressed such stars as Cher, Bette Midler, Judy Garland and Joan Rivers. He designed costumes for Carol Burnett on “The Carol Burnett Show” during its entire run, as well as its spinoff “Mama’s Family.” He bought the house in 2005 for $1.695 million, records show.

He’s taken his act to a new address

Homes, girlfriends, groups, wet bars — there’s no keeping up with Joe Jonas these days. The actor-singer of Jonas Brothers and DNCE fame has leased a home in Hollywood Hills West for $40,000 a month. The Midcentury Modern house, built in 1962 and recently restored, retains its original vibe with a facade done in decorative concrete blocks, walls of floor-to-ceiling glass and a circular living room with a hidden wet bar. Other features include a two-way fireplace and a chef’s kitchen with a chrome-topped island. The master suite features a circular bathroom and soaking tub, for a total of three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in 3,323 square feet. A swimming pool, a raised deck and landscaping are within grounds of close to an acre. Expansive views take in the downtown cityscape. Formerly owned by record producer Neil Norman, the house sold two years ago for $1.85 million. It is currently listed for sale at $4.595 million.

The 26-year-old musician formed the pop rock group DNCE last year and has released one extended play album, “SWAAY.” He previously fronted the Jonas Brothers, a band that included his brothers Nick and Kevin.

Breaking even and then some

Emmy-winning actress Anna Gunn of “Breaking Bad” fame has sold her home in Hollywood Hills for $2 million. The remodeled Midcentury Modern house, built in 1965, captures Southern California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle with an atrium courtyard, a lounging deck and a black-bottom swimming pool and spa. Sliding glass doors bring the outside in. Within the 2,447 square feet of open-plan space is a living/dining room with a corner fireplace, an updated kitchen with a center island and a family/media room with wall-to-wall bookshelves. High ceilings and walls of glass highlight the interior details. The master suite has a walk-in closet and French doors that open to the pool. In all, there are five bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a powder room. Hedged by mature trees, the one-third-acre grounds contain patios, gardens and lawn. Views take in the Hollywood sign and surrounding areas.

Gunn, 47, twice won Emmys for her supporting role as Skyler White on “Breaking Bad.” Among her other television credits are “Deadwood,” “Criminal Minds” and the miniseries “Gracepoint.” She bought the house more than a decade ago for $1.775 million.

Desert digs with an Oscar pedigree

A former home of Edith Head, the Oscar-winning costume designer, has come on the market in Palm Springs for $849,000. Found near the storied Movie Colony neighborhood, the updated 1950s Hacienda-style house is distinguished by its rustic Saltillo-tiled floors, beamed ceilings and an arched front entry. Within the 2,200 square feet of space are open-area living and dining rooms, an updated kitchen, a breakfast area and an office/bonus room. Large picture windows invite natural light, and a fireplace with artistic tile adds a splash of color. Wood-framed glass doors bring the outdoors inside. The master suite has a tiled spa and a fireplace. There are three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Outdoors, privacy hedges and mountain views form the backdrop for a blue-tiled swimming pool with a spa and waterfall feature. A covered patio, citrus trees, fountains and drought-tolerant landscaping complete the setting.

The house previously changed hands five years ago for $570,000 and in 2007 for $500,000. In 1977, it sold for $58,000, records show. Head, who died in 1981 in her 80s, designed costumes for such Hollywood stars as Ginger Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Robert Redford. She was nominated for the Academy Award for best costume design on 35 occasions, winning eight Oscars.

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Learn about gardening at March 12 workshop

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Prince Charles offers his gardening tips on Surrey primary school visit

  • Charles spent time at Ashley Primary School in Surrey this morning
  • Animated Prince, 67, watched as children enjoyed gardening activities 
  • The royal has announced a week-long horticultural festival at Highgrove  
  • This afternoon Charles went to Southall to meet the Bishop of London
  • He arrived at St John’s Church to enjoy a tour with Dr Richard Chartres
  • For the latest on Prince Charles visit

Jo Tweedy For Mailonline



Prince Charles’ love of all things horticultural is no secret and a group of Surrey schoolchildren were on the receiving end of his green-fingered wisdom today as he took a tour of their new building. 

The royal, who has announced that he’s to host a horticultural festival at Highgrove for the first time in April, spent time with youngsters at Ashley Primary School in Walton-on-Thames this morning before heading to Southall this afternoon to meet with the Bishop of London.

Charles, 67, looked on good form and happy to brave the chilly weather as he laughed and joked with the pupils as they negotiated a wheelbarrow laden with soil.  

Scroll down for video 

I could use you at Highgrove! Charles, 67, meets pupils at Ashley Primary School in Walton-on-Thames this morning as he arrived to open a new building

I could use you at Highgrove! Charles, 67, meets pupils at Ashley Primary School in Walton-on-Thames this morning as he arrived to open a new building

Chipping away: Charles admires the ice sculpting going on at the primary school

Chipping away: Charles admires the ice sculpting going on at the primary school

Busy year: Charles has announced today that he'll open Highgrove's gardens for a week-long celebration of horticulture in April

Busy year: Charles has announced today that he’ll open Highgrove’s gardens for a week-long celebration of horticulture in April

Soil searching: The Prince inspects some compost created by the youngsters at the Surrey school

Soil searching: The Prince inspects some compost created by the youngsters at the Surrey school

There was more outdoor fun later for the Prince as he observed children chipping away at ice sculptures.

As he retreated indoors, he appeared to have lots of fun sharing jokes with the uniformed youngsters as he joined them for class reading work. 

En route back to London from Surrey, Charles also made a detour to visit St John’s Church in Southall, West London, where local primary schoolchildren waved colourful flags as he arrived.

The royal spent time meeting a colourfully dressed Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, who took Charles on a tour of the church and showed him gifts from the local community including a brightly-coloured embroidered bag.

Charles wasn’t the only royal out and about today; the Duchess of Cambridge was at London’s Royal Trinity Hospice this morning meeting patients and staff. 

As patron of the hospice, Camilla unveiled a plaque celebrating its 125th anniversary and watched as patients received aromatherapy massages and took part in exercise classes.  

Earlier in the day, Prince Charles paid a visit to St Jonh's Church in Southall, where he met Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London who was wearing bright red clerical clothes

Earlier in the day, Prince Charles paid a visit to St Jonh’s Church in Southall, where he met Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London who was wearing bright red clerical clothes

While crowds looked on, the Prince listened to Dr Chartres prior to his tour of the church

While crowds looked on, the Prince listened to Dr Chartres prior to his tour of the church

A colourful morning: Local students from Southall greeted Prince Charles as he made his way to St John's Church

A colourful morning: Local students from Southall greeted Prince Charles as he made his way to St John’s Church

Charles looked to be enjoying the tour as he led the way with Dr Chartres

Charles looked to be enjoying the tour as he led the way with Dr Chartres

Prince Charles looks at an embroidered bag, a gift from the local community, during a visit to St John's Church in Southall, London, with Richard Chartres

Prince Charles looks at an embroidered bag, a gift from the local community, during a visit to St John’s Church in Southall, London, with Richard Chartres

The news this morning that the couple will allow the public to enjoy the country estate gardens that he has spent 30 years perfecting will be music to the ears of horticulturists.

The Prince of Wales has said that he will throw open the gates of Highgrove in Gloucestershire for a star-studded week-long event in April.

Celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh and world-famous chef Raymond Blanc will be among the guest speakers at the bash, which will celebrate all things horticultural.

They will share their expertise on everything from wildlife and organic food to plant care, garden history and design.

As well as attending the exclusive talks, visitors can enjoy afternoon tea and guided tours around 15 acre of the gardens. 

Feeling expressive: Charles shares a joke with pupils at Ashley Primary School and pulls some serious faces Charles looked to be on good-form and happy to share jokes with the pupils

Feeling expressive: Charles shares a joke with pupils at Ashley Primary School and pulls some serious faces

It was this high! Charles waxes lyrical with the youngsters who seem to be enjoying his company

It was this high! Charles waxes lyrical with the youngsters who seem to be enjoying his company

Charles spent a lengthy period of time chatting to the pupils, wearing their green uniform, although it's unclear what his jovial tale was about

Charles spent a lengthy period of time chatting to the pupils, wearing their green uniform, although it’s unclear what his jovial tale was about

All profits will go to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation. Chris Prescott, chief executive of Highgrove Enterprises, which is organising the event, said the festival captures the essence of Highgrove.

He said: ‘It will be an unique insight into the ethos and sustainable approach behind the gardens, as well as a reflection of the horticultural interests of HRH the Prince of Wales.’

However Prince Charles, who bought the Gloucestershire estate in 1980, is not expected to appear at the event, which will run from April 11 to 16. Tickets will cost between £15 and £75 and will go on sale on February 18.  

The Prince headed south to Walton-on-Thames to chat with the students...and unveil a new building

The Prince headed south to Walton-on-Thames to chat with the students…and unveil a new building

Ta-da! The plaque announcing the official opening of the new building at Ashley Primary School is unveiled

Ta-da! The plaque announcing the official opening of the new building at Ashley Primary School is unveiled


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Flower and garden show this weekend

Thursday to Sunday, Edison


Think spring! The new season may be more than a month away, but gardeners and plant enthusiasts from North Jersey can travel to Edison this weekend for the 14th annual New Jersey Flower Garden Show.

TELL ME MORE: This four-day event attracts more than 25,000 flower and garden enthusiasts annually with its display gardens produced by area landscapers, while the Standard Flower Show presented by the Garden Club of New Jersey is always a breath of fresh air.

Throughout the day, gardening experts will demonstrate the how-tos of container gardening, creative floral arranging, garden design and more. On the show floor, visitors can see how top New Jersey landscape companies troubleshoot typical backyard design problems.

This year’s theme is “Celebrate! It’s a Party!”

Exhibitors at the show typically include the following: gardening clubs, landscape architects, outdoor furniture retailers, nurseries, irrigation specialists and lawn maintenance services.

PROGRAMS: The featured speaker will be garden designer Kerry Ann Mendez. She will give two lectures: “The Right-Size Flower Garden” and “Striking, Uncommon Plants and Awe-Inspiring Design Tips.” Check the website for times.

Kids are welcome at the show: There will be a program run by Margareta Warlick titled “The Young Gardener as an Artist.” Warlick will also lead free daily activities for younger show visitors.

DETAILS: 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the New Jersey Convention Center, 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison. $15; seniors (65+) Thursday and Friday $10, Saturday and Sunday $15; children (12-17) $6; children 11 and under free. Information: 732-417-1400 or

— Raymond A. Edel

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GCA Trust to grant more to horticulture than garden design

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State D.O.T. To Discuss Scajaquada Pkwy Reconstruction Wednesday

state d.o.t. to discuss future plans for 198

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Eastern Iowa Home Show dates are Feb. 19-21

WATERLOO — The 65th Annual Eastern Iowa Home Landscaping Show is Feb. 19-21 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Nearly 200 exhibitors will showcase the latest ideas and products for home, lawn and garden.

Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 20 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 21. Admission is $6 for adults; youth 12 and younger are free. Friday admission is $5. Discount coupons area available at and local Kwik Star locations.

The event is sponsored by the Waterloo Exchange Club and Iowa Show Productions.

Featured exhibitors will include new home contractors, remodeling experts, home entertainment, landscaping experts, energy experts and kitchen specialists. Consumers can shop for lighting, plumbing, water systems, flooring, furniture, windows, doors, siding, hot tubs, fireplaces, sunrooms, grills, geothermal and solar systems and more.

Landscaping and gardening designers will construct landscaped garden displays utilizing pavers, retaining block, trees, shrubs and a variety of products. Decking, lawn equipment and lawn care products will be featured.

Kids Build Grow workshops, sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement, take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 20 and 21. The first 100 children each day will build a racecar Feb. 20 and a bird house Feb. 21. There is no additional charge.

Seminars will feature Jamie Beyer with “Water Gardening,” “Wildlife in the Garden” and “Landscaping with Stone”; Mike Barnes on “Solar Energy for Your Home”; Sheryl Hoover of Budget Blinds with “Window Treatments for Your Home”; Chris Hansen of Bertch Cabinets and Erin Petersen, Fisher Design with “Kitchen Design”; and Katie Bell, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers on “Kitchen and Bath Design.”

Iowa Pork Producers and Hy-Vee will team up for “Cooking with Pork,” and Bob Manning of the Home Builders Association of Northeast Iowa will discuss “Financing of New Construction Remodeling for Dummies.”

For more information, contact Barb Miller at Iowa Show Productions Inc., or call 232-0218.

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Newest homes built to stand up to Mother Nature’s fiercest outbursts

A movement in the home-building industry to adapt to risks of climate change is gaining momentum, promising new houses that are tougher and more able to bounce back from extreme weather events.

Although much attention has focused on green building practices, resilient-design strategies take the concept of building efficiently a step further with a proactive approach to creating durable homes that can withstand almost anything Mother Nature throws at them.

Unusual weather patterns, such as January’s historic East Coast blizzard and a rare tornado outbreak in late December in parts of the South and Midwest, highlight the vulnerability of residential structures.

A 2014 climate change survey by Munich Reinsurance America, a major provider of property and casualty reinsurance, found that 63 percent of Americans plan to fortify or have already fortified their homes to protect themselves from severe weather events. Forty-seven percent would consider moving away from hazard-prone areas, and a similar portion have purchased or plan to buy an additional insurance policy, such as flood or earthquake insurance.

According to the Resilient Design Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Vermont, resilient design is “the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities and regions in order to respond to natural and man-made disasters and disturbances as well as long-term changes resulting from climate change, including sea-level rise, increased frequency of heat waves and regional drought.”

Mike and Brenda Scyphers moved from Montgomery County, Md., to the Links at Gettysburg about 10 months ago. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a resilient home — solutions vary from region to region. For example, siding could be formulated to be resistant to moisture and freeze-thaw in the North or for resisting hail and flying storm debris in the South.

High Performance Homes, a custom builder in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, has taken several steps to ensure its zero-energy homes are resilient to fluctuating weather patterns. The company was selected in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Energy as

a Housing Innovation Award winner.

Kiere DeGrandchamp, president of High Performance Homes, said the structural insulated panels that encase his homes provide a superior wall assembly that can better tolerate the effects of extreme weather and resist damage from fire, mold and water.

“If you want to build a house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, like in Ocean City, to hold up to hurricane-force winds — or pretty much anywhere with high-wind restrictions — these panels will stand up,” he said. “Because these panels have such a high thermal mass, extreme heat and cold don’t affect the home as much as with a conventionally built, code-constructed house.”

Last year, Mike and Brenda Scyphers moved into their new home at the Links at Gettysburg, a High Performance golf course community in Pennsylvania.

The walls are reinforced with “structurally insulated panels” which are designed to protect the home against strong winds and extreme cold and heat. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

“When we first came across the High Performance Homes and saw the construction techniques and the options available, we were very excited because of the energy savings and structure of the homes, and also because of the fact that they are much more positive in terms of the impact on the environment,” said Mike Scyphers.

On a cold and windy day, they don’t have to worry about air leakage in their home, thanks to high insulation levels and tight construction.

“We certainly don’t have the draftiness in this house that we had in our old home,” Mike Scyphers said.

Concept homes showcasing the inherent advantages of resilience and sustainability offer a preview of the possibilities for building a home that can absorb and rapidly recover from a disruptive event.

For example, college students from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., constructed a low-energy, solar-powered, storm-resilient home for coastal communities, which won the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Called the SU+RE House (for “sustainable” and “resilient”), it is based on three principles: Use less energy through smart design, generate all energy needed through renewable solar electric and be capable of providing power during electrical outages.

Pardee Homes, a member of the TRI Pointe Group, is also building homes with durability in mind.

Klif Andrews, Pardee’s Las Vegas division president, pointed out that in Nevada, this is accomplished with everything from sturdy exteriors of concrete and stucco to drought-resistant landscaping using high-efficiency irrigation.

Pardee’s two concept homes, billed as Responsive Homes, debuted Jan. 18 at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

“We don’t have wood details that are going to dry out, crack or age over time,” Andrews said.

“These homes use net-zero electricity. They generate 100 percent of their electricity needs through solar panels. They also have high-efficiency irrigation and drought-resistant landscaping. A lot of permeable surfaces allow rainwater to penetrate through to the ground rather than run off.”

Smart sensors on the roofs can detect rain and communicate with the lawn’s irrigation system to conserve water.

At the California Science Center in Los Angeles, a tiny home on display through Tuesdaypresents a novel way to showcase innovative plastic building products that can improve durability and ease maintenance while saving homeowners money on energy bills.

Richard Skorpenske, director of advocacy and sustainability at Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, was a member of the building and construction team for the 170-square-foot portable structure.

The building envelope enables the miniature home to withstand wind shear. Insulation inside and out adds strength and resilience to the walls, while solar shingles reduce dependence on a power grid. Plastic abounds in everything from decorative touches to pipes.

“Of course, the one obvious thing plastics bring is durability and long life of the product,” Skorpenske said. “It can survive in elements and maintain functionality. . . . The trim does not rot. The vinyl siding will not deteriorate with sunlight or aging. The double-paned windows have plastic window frames. The plastic pipes don’t corrode. A home is resilient when it doesn’t have to depend on a grid for support. A resilient home is a home that can heal itself despite the weather, climate change or economic-stressor events.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Robert Weitz, a former home builder and founder of RTK Environmental Group, an environmental testing firm that services the Northeast from Boston to the Washington area, has been working closely with builders to repair homes damaged by mold and construct new homes that are more resistant to climate change.

The certified microbial investigator outlined key considerations when building a resilient home:

●Build aboveground to avoid water intrusion into the lower level and lessen potential radon infiltration.

●Make sure your builder uses a high-quality housewrap to protect against damaging wind and rain that can penetrate exterior siding.

“In the Northeast, they used to take a roof shingle and nail it right onto the plywood,” Weitz said. “Now, the code is to use a weather shield or ice shield.”

●Use drywall panels that are specially treated to resist mold, mildew, moisture and fire.

●Incorporate proper building orientation and daylighting strategies to ensure natural light and comfortable interior temperatures during a power outage.

The need for resilient design is especially apparent to architects, who want their buildings to stand for generations.

“By layering design concepts that allow homes to better absorb and recover from adverse events, architects keep their clients better situated to handle whatever threat confronts them,” said Matt Tinder, spokesman for the American Institute of Architects.

On Dec. 23, climate change hit close to home for Dawn Zuber, chairwoman of the American Institute of Architects’ Custom Residential Architects Network and owner of Studio Z Architecture in Canton, Mich.

“We had a tornado touch down about two miles from my home. It came up so quickly that there was no warning,” Zuber said, noting the importance of designing homes that can withstand wild weather swings.

Studio Z uses traditional building techniques in new ways, working with wood-frame construction and high-quality components.

“You want to make sure, for example, the trusses are held down with good-quality connectors so the roof doesn’t blow off,” she said. “We specify wide washers to bolt the walls to the foundation. We use new types of insulation [cellulose and spray foam] that get you a higher insulation value. We insulate on the outside of the studs to keep the heat and cold from transferring through the studs. The goal of what we do is keeping any kind of water from becoming a problem.”

The economic significance of building fortified homes has not been lost on the insurance industry.

“We’ve done a lot of research around climate change, the impact on losses, and through education, how do we inform people to do things better,” said Carl Hedde, senior vice president of risk accumulation at Munich Reinsurance America. “We have to make the homes and businesses we live in and work in more resilient.”

Building codes need to be strengthened nationwide, he said, pointing out that Florida has been noteworthy in this regard.

After Hurricane Andrew struck the state in 1992, Florida took steps to improve the inspection process surrounding code enforcement and bolster its building codes, Hedde said. Examples of the state’s code enhancements include requirements for stronger hurricane straps to keep roofs from blowing off during strong wind and the use of more and stronger nails in the construction process.

This spring, Munich Reinsurance is planning to launch a free tablet app that will empower users to make informed decisions on resilient home projects.

The app will take a holistic, whole-house approach to ensure that the homeowner and team of building professionals consider all the variables that go into fortifying a home, such as properly installing siding or hurricane straps.

“We’re going to have videos that show, for example, how to put on a roof in a stronger way,” Hedde said. “The more people that know what can be done and how to do it will help people make their homes resilient.”

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