Fliessgleichgewicht (Flowing Balance) Innovations: Integrated Storm Shelter - Homes Across America Search Return

Fliessgleichgewicht (Flowing Balance)




Goals of Innovation: To build a multi-use storm shelter to protect residents against tornadoes and other dangerous winds which create flying debris.

Description: While the house itself is very wind resistant due to its ICF construction and hurricane strapping on the roof, the owner felt that an in-residence tornado shelter was necessary in the event of extreme weather conditions.

The 7' 7" X 7' 7" master bedroom closet was constructed of ICFs to double as an in-residence tornado shelter. The design specifications were developed by the Institute for Disaster Research at Texas Tech University http://www.wind.ttu.edu/ and specifically adapted to this house.

In addition to the 6-inch thick ICF walls, the closet ceiling is solid steel with 8" of concrete poured on top of that. The shelter's floor is part of the home's main floor - a concrete slab. The air conditioning vent into the closet is connected to a thick steel elbow to prevent wind-driven materials from entering the closet at fatal speeds. The door to the closet is a solid core door with 11-gauge steel screwed onto the exterior to protect from wind-driven materials. Heavy duty hinges screwed to a reinforced frame allow the door to be opened and closed easily.

Obstacles: The main obstacle was to assure the closet could be a strong storm shelter, yet built and designed in such a way so it could actually be used daily as a closet. In other words, it had to serve multiple purposes by being functionally integrated into the house.

Cost Information: Because the shelter is an integrated part of the house, the owner was unable to determine its exact cost. According to Texas Tech, however, the cost of an inresidence shelter is substantially less than that of a basement.

Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: In addition to being multi-use, the shelter, by being on the main floor of the house and supported by a concrete slab, has little chance of being "buried" by debris if the house is hit by a tornado or high winds.

People also won't be hit by flying debris, as they could be when they have to leave the house for shelter. This shelter also allows the owner to stay in the house during a weather watch knowing that a place of safety from extreme winds is only a few seconds away.

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