Designing homes to withstand strong winds
February 24, 2022
climate change
climate risk
energy efficiency
Home improvements
structural design

The high winds currently buffeting the UK act as a sobering reminder that our homes will – as a result of climate change – increasingly be exposed to extreme weather over the coming decades.

Research by Civil engineer Rima Taher of the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT offers the following insights on what makes a (low rise) building wind resilient:

  • Homes with square floorplans (or, even better, hexagonal or octagonal) tend to be sturdier.
  • Roofs with four slopes (‘hip roofs’) rather than two (‘gable roofs’) are preferable. Gable roofs tend to be more common, but only because their construction costs are lower. The optimal roof slope is 30 degrees.
  • Buildings should have strong connections between their foundations and structure, and between the walls and the roofs (these should be connected using nails rather than staples). Connections can often be strengthened inexpensively.
  • Strong winds typically exert uplift forces on roofs, so roof overhangs should be limited to 50cm.
  • Regularly inspect your roof as loose tiles can pose a hazard during a storm.
  • Consider installing shutters to protect exposed windows.