After Typhoon Odette (Rai) swept over 10 regions in our country last December 14, many Filipinos were left homeless and devastated. Many scrambled for food, water, and basic essentials, without shelter and electricity in their communities. This wasn’t how people imagined spending their holidays.
While there is proof that the storm has been weathered, the real challenge is surviving on what was left. Not only were livelihoods wrecked, but so were the infrastructures and many were left without a place to call home.
Approximately 597,000 residences were damaged by the typhoon, according to the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.
The Situation At Hand
Given that the Philippines is geographically located in the Pacific typhoon belt, our country encounters five destructive tropical cyclones out of the average 20. Our coastal communities also make up 60% of our population, and that these zones suffer the most damage during and after every storm. Given these, iIt’s safe to say that disaster preparedness remains an essential focus in design, but this challenging job is easier said than done.
Sustainability as the Key
We all want a place we can call home. We all need a sanctuary that will keep us safe and secure, especially during times like Typhoon Odette. Living in a country visited by several storms a year doesn’t desensitize us or make us fear less for our and our families’ safety. Here are some approaches that can be implemented to the design of our homes.
Natural Lighting and Ventilation
As much as you can, allow enough light and air into your home by design, and this is not just for comfort.
After Odette, people were fumbling in search of fuel for their generators, because while they were safe in their homes, they couldn’t see well indoors - even during the day. This is proof that our reliance on technology and tools is taking its toll, and it’s time we make use of resources that are readily available in nature.
While these openings may be a cause for worry during the strong winds, this is where louvers or storm shutters can come in handy.
Structural Stability as a Priority
In line with considering natural lighting and ventilation, we should never compromise structural stability for the sake of visual aesthetics. We can’t call the design as good if its inhabitants are unsafe or at risk. Moreover, we shouldn’t cut costs on anything that keeps our walls firm and our roofs intact, especially if you live in high-risk areas like coastal zones. In this case, concrete is a sustainable option to consider, since it is durable and locally sourced.
Resistance is Resilience
It is a myth that we should crack a window during a storm to equalize the pressure caused by strong typhoon winds. In fact, what it does is divert the winds’ impact towards the interior and upward into the roof, which may damage and eventually dislodge it.
That said, our design approach should be to reinforce our homes with impact-resistant windows and glass panels to help compartmentalize the pressure and keep the roofing intact. This idea also ties in with the importance of structural stability, and why we should invest in reinforcing exterior walls.
Here are more tips for Disaster-preparedness in Design:
Elevating your home’s floorline from the natural ground line can minimize the damage of flooding, and substantially protect the interior.
Installing weatherproof convenience outlets at your work sheds, porches, and garages. It also proves beneficial if indoor convenience outlets have a waterproof cover, or are elevated at a certain height.
Developing rainwater harvesting and proper drainage systems.
Responsibly sourcing materials (preferably locally) and ensuring the safety and longevity of built structures are what every responsible and reputable construction management firm does for their projects. JCVA is this reliable partner for you and your homes.
Together with every FIlipino, JCVA aims to build better in preparation for a more resilient future. We understand what disaster-preparedness and sustainable construction entails, and if this is what you want for your homes and businesses, we got you covered. We not only know how to build infrastructure that can withstand any disaster, we can build it at a cost right for you.
If you have questions on designs that are disaster-resilient, we would love to discuss it with you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.jcvassociates.ph to know more about our team and other services we provide..