Homes designed to float on water could be the way of the future
Sunday, April 27, 2014, 6:41 -
Flooding is almost a yearly occurrence in parts of Canada.
The northern Ontario communities of Fort Albany and Kashechewan have been dealing with seasonal floods for years. They disrupt daily life, and threaten the health of residents.
But some say that could change. Amphibious houses designed to float on flood waters might be the answer.
"The way they work is that they sit on the ground like an ordinary house," explains Professor Elizabeth English from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. "And most of them look very much like ordinary houses, until the flood comes and instead of trying to fight the water they work with the water."
In the event of a flood, the house will float on top of the rising waters up to 18 feet due to a concrete covered foam foundation. Once the flood waters recede, the home will safely settle back down to its original placement on land and rest on a concrete foundation.
Because the homes are securely fastened to the steel posts, they will not experience any side to side motion; however, they will experience some vertical motion due to the waves. The houses are also made of timber to ensure that they are lighter.
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The idea would go a long way in helping people deal with persistent floods, but not everyone is convinced.
"The insurance companies have not embraced this," adds English. "I think when insurance companies catch on and think this would be a good idea, some large reinsurance agencies [will take] a closer look at amphibious construction and possibly developing an interest in funding some pilot studies."
With files from amphibioushomes.weebly.com/