Among many of the topics covered by a recent US Department of Energy (DOE) webinar was the subject of FORTIFIED™ Homes. In the webinar, the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) discussed which building systems where the most vulnerable and how getting the roof right could reduce as much as 50% from the $20 billion of insured property losses that homeowners experience each year in the US.
According to disastersafety.org, natural disasters cause widespread damage each year, destroying communities and leaving states with mountains of debris that will eventually end up in landfills. The use of resilient construction standards prevents damage and helps to create sustainable communities. By making such improvements to your home or business, you can reduce the environmental impact and save money. Studies by the US Department of Energy and the National Institute of Building Sciences found that energy efficiency programs can save consumers between $2 and $3 of every federal dollar spent, while each federal dollar invested in disaster mitigation saves taxpayers approximately $ 4 in recovery costs.
What is a FORTIFIED™ Home? It is a national, third-party verification program designed by the IBHS that will help to assess the condition of a home and then strengthen it through an evaluation, inspection, and retrofitting process that is specifically suited for the natural regional hazards of the home’s location. There are layers of tiers and levels within the program, designed to accommodate varying degrees of disaster resistance. Each level builds on the one prior to it and must be completed before moving onto the next level of disaster protection. The three levels of designation for a FORTIFIED Home are bronze, silver and gold. A gold level represents the highest level of achievement and the greatest disaster protection.
Owners of a FORTIFIED Home benefit by having peace of mind through increased safety, less financial risk, lower repair costs, and less disruption after a weather event has passed.
Since fortified programs are recognized and supported by insurance companies around the country, many offer discounts and other incentives. For more information on credits, discounts and other incentives that your specific insurance company may provide, contact them and ask how fortifying your home will affect your premium.
For more information on FORTIFIED™ Homes, disastersafety.org has many resources available.