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Natural Disasters Push Builders to Consider Resiliently Designed Off-Grid Homes

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Resilient Construction

Natural Disasters Push Builders to Consider Resiliently Designed Off-Grid Homes

May 21, 2021
Home with solar panels
Photo: monamakela.com | stock.adobe.com

Extreme weather resulting from climate change are now regular, year-round events, pushing some builders to reconsider how they design and construct their homes. The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1, but thousands of Louisiana residents are already displaced, Texas’ February ice storm took out power for 10 million people, and California’s latest wildfire burned up more than 10,000 structures. Since 2015, blackout events affecting 50,000 or more have increased more than 60%, according to CNBC. One small builder, Dvele, is addressing this by creating homes with off-the-grid capabilities and all the same luxurious features.

Power outages spur change
“The whole idea of the self-powered home actually came from the California wildfires where the grids were shutting down,” said Matt Howland, Dvele’s president. 

Dvele, founded in 2017, builds its homes in a factory. They are sleek, modern designs with high-end fixtures and finishings. The average size is about 2,600 square feet, although it can be larger, and the cost is around $1.2 million. That is about 20% higher than the cost of a comparably sized luxury home with none of the resilient efficiencies and technologies. 

Dvele homes have solar, battery and other construction and insulation elements, as well as smart technology, that allow them to use far less energy and operate longer off the grid. The home monitors its own energy input and output all the time, then tweaks the systems to save more. If the local power goes out, the home should see no difference. 

“We’re seeing things that we’ve never seen before and that grids simply aren’t made to manage. Since all the events in Texas, the interest in the self-powered concept has really gone off the charts for us,” said Howland. 

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