When the Floods Come: the Climate Change thread

Well, I’m not sure about underground houses… I’ve read plenty of stories about underground houses, and they all have said there is constant problems with things like moisture seepage and mold. (perhaps there wouldn’t be in locations where there is not enough ground water for wells…)

But houses built with heat-resistant cinder-block (or adobe?) with slate or (high heat) metal roofs (and no wood-timber framing) may be the thing. And heat-tolerant windows. Not sure how much heat they’d need to be able to withstand if trees and other flammable plants were kept at a distance from the structure.

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I recall listening to an NPR story ~10 years ago about a fire in a California box canyon, where the homeowner/resident had done his homework: cementitious roof tile, cement or masonry walls, not sure about the glazing/windows, and I don’t recall if he had Firewise landscaping.

The box canyon got caught up in a wildfire, and as so often happens with necessary and sufficient conditions, the box canyon physics helped create a firestorm.

Nothing of his home survived.
It all burned to ash.
All of it.

I really couldn’t fault the guy. He had gotten so many choices nailed down; they all seemed right when he was interviewed, and those building details included plenty of materials one could call extremely fire-resistant.

I understood then that my lifelong study of building science would never provide me enough countermeasures to outcompete nature and physics.

Here in Central Texas, we faced a hefty 9-alarm fire where we had 20 minutes to evacuate (mandatory order from the sheriff). Even before that evac and the crazy strong 60+ MPH winds, I had been tracking housing approaches like this one:

I’ve been in quite a few earth-sheltered homes, and none had moisture problems. My partner and I run with a fairly geeky sustainable building crowd, and quite a few of them are engineers or professional green/natural/sustainable builders. They are very picky. There’s definitely a right way to build an “underground” house… proper siting and drainage are a big deal. Just slapping a shipping container into a hillside is unlikely to produce a healthy IAQ or good longterm primary shelter unless one gets a lot of details right.

Surviving a wildfire in one’s home should be made a top priority in the international building code world. I have friends who have worked on those codes. And universal plumbing codes. I find it interesting.

Nature has taken her gloves off and is now giving us IRL examples of what happens when the balance humans have acclimated to and have become complacent about is upset by a degree Celsius here or there.

I could never recommend earth-sheltered homes for flood-prone areas, or areas where drainage can’t be made reliable and suitable using time-tested best practices and building methods.

As for fire-prone and tornado-prone areas, I still think that, properly done, they are life savers. They are expensive and as such, hard to scale up for the commercial production builder market. But for the right place and right humans facing long odds (no fire department, no infrastructure, not enough water, etc.), earth sheltered housing may have real benefits.

Geeking out just a bit more on non-conventional building:

ETA: grrrrrrammar

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Cork clad or sprayed houses. Natural fire resistance.

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Good to know. Decrease my stress level when it goes off!

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I didn’t get an alert today. :man_shrugging:

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:eyes:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heres-how-climate-change-will-stress-your-homeland/

ETA:
Onebox is not happy, somehow, with a direct link.

:roll_eyes:

So…

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Neither did I. :man_shrugging:

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@Akimbo_NOT
@docosc

Here ya go:
minions-beedobeedo

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Maybe this’ll help? Not expecting much, but maybe?

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It was a “feels like” 113F here in NoVa today.

cool down fridge

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Ugh! I’m sorry. Stay cool!

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Not a problem. Working from home has its benefits of AC all the time. But happy I don’t have an outside job on a day like this.

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Environmental Research Letters
“Reducing CO2 emissions by targeting the world’s hyper-polluting power plants”,
Don Grant, David Zelinka and Stefania Mitova
13 July 2021

And there’s a book as well… “Super Polluters: Tackling the World’s Largest Sites of Climate-Disrupting Emissions”.

I’m not convinced that carbon capture will be economical or practical in the required time line; I’m sure the coal industry loves the general idea but nothing substantial will be done until someone else foots the bill for R&D and deployment which, IMHO, ain’t never gonna happen.

It would be interesting to see if this paper’s analysis would be enough to focus an international effort, quite simply, to start “knocking off” the worst emitters in order. Set aside the nationalist aspects and agree to start at the top of the list and work down. Converting the worst offenders to gas would get ~30% of the total emissions taken care of, then building renewables (or nuclear) on the same sites to finish the job.

Decarbonization of the power sector appears to be in progress…

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We cracked 100 in the valley. Oppressive does not begin to describe it.

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