Housing and property - the latest news, examples, comments

Flood risk assessment for homeowners

Remember energy audits? Soon you could benefit from a flood audit.

An expert came to your home, measured how your much energy you were wasting and how, with a few simple fixes, you could save on heating and electricity bills.

Now a RI state commission wants to offering flood audits. An expert would visit a property or business, do a flood risk assessment of the land, assets, and structure, and give the owner an evaluation, including risk and preparedness, plus specific resiliency measures available.

Of course, RI is more exposed than most states. In Newport alone, over […]

Climate-proofing your home with above-code retrofits

Building codes are out-of-date in many weather-threatened areas. A new iPad applet helps homeowners upgrade to minimize damage from increasingly severe weather. Videos, animations, and technical specifications for building and retrofitting single family homes, from Munich Re and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Armor (the right kind) against sea-level rise, storm surge

Soft defenses (think wetlands, vegetation) defend the shore more cheaply and effectively from storm surge and sea-level rise than concrete structures. That sturdy wall in front of your place may protect you but “dramatically alter what’s going on next door. Local erosion rates seem to just skyrocket,” according to Northeastern University. For cost-effective projects: municipal and state officials take note.

Historic buildings could be swept away

“Some historic buildings are not saveable in their current locations.”

So says John Englander, author of High Tide on Main Street, at the recent conference, Keeping History Above Water. This charette comes up with some ideas about what to do to prevent this.

A simple life is hard to imagine. Here’s one way.

Lost driver: “Can you tell me how to get to Union Grove?” Roadside farmer: “No. But if I was you, I wouldn’t start from here.”

Most of us have trouble seeing from here down the road. If we ponder what life would be like with a lot less water, air-conditioning, meat, or municipal services, it’s hard to visualize. How would limited transportation, lower home values, more community conflict, and food scarcities feel? We can’t quite imagine.

I spend hours researching dangers like these and possible tactics for dodging them. But even I have trouble conjuring visions of their everyday consequences. […]

Flood insurance – growing risks, subsidized premiums

FEMA’s revised maps show dramatic expansion of flood plains. Families aren’t insured for flood unless they have a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program. […]

Coastal living becoming doubly risky?

Relief for victims of hurricane Sandy suggests coastal residents are likely to see too little too late from the federal government. […]

Reason #2 to consume less and save more

Reduced federal spending threatens family budgets more than increased taxes. […]

A Category 4 or Richter 6 near you?

Experts predict increasingly severe natural disasters. It makes sense to take this into account when making location decisions. […]

Cohousing – designed for these times?

Cohousing can have advantages any time, but especially when energy, food and other family budget threats loom. […]