A house made of plastic soda bottles can withstand winds twice as strong as a Category-5 hurricane. Take a look inside.

Aria Bendix
plastic hurricane home sunset

JD Composites Inc.


  • Hurricanes are becoming stronger and more devastating, generating the need for new technologies that keep homes safe.
  • A Canadian construction firm recently built a home made of plastic panels that it claims can hold up during a Category-5 hurricane. 
  • While plastic is often sturdier than conventional building materials, the home is still missing features like steel shutters and hurricane straps.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more.

Hurricane Barry didn't create as much damage as predecessors like Katrina or Harvey, but it did serve as a reminder that hurricanes are becoming stronger and more devastating

When the Category-1 storm hit the Louisiana coast on Saturday, it prompted around 75,000 homes and businesses to lose power. If the wind speeds had picked up, they might have been powerful enough to uproot trees or damage homes.

While designing homes to withstand hurricanes often requires extra cash, construction companies are slowly finding new ways to bring hurricane-safe features to the masses. 

Recently, a Canadian construction firm called JD Composites built a 2,000-square-foot home made of recycled plastic bottles that can also withstand Category 5 winds. 

Take a look inside the sleek (but sound) structure.

It took more than 600,000 plastic soda bottles to construct the home's paneled walls.

JD Composites Inc.

The bottles were shredded, melted, then injected with a gas that turned them into foam. That foam was then molded into 6-inch-thick panels, which formed the walls of the home.

 

 

 



The plastic bottles were rejected by the recycling industry.

JD Composites Inc.

As recycling becomes more expensive for local governments, many cities have resorted to disposing of recyclable goods in landfills. Batches of recycling that carry non-recyclable items like greasy pizza boxes or yogurt cups can also be discarded as trash. 

Read more: China is refusing to take 'foreign garbage' from the US, so these 6 cities are burning or throwing away your recycling



The panels took only 7 hours to build, but they're sturdier than most.

JD Composites Inc.

The home contains 170 panels in total, which are bonded together with chemicals instead of traditional nails and shingles, which can come loose during a hurricane. 



The home costs either the same as, or about 10% higher than, a conventional structure of the same size.

JD Composites Inc.

"We had a lot of learning curves, so profit margins will be minimal," said Joel German, the company's vice president. "But we will gain in knowledge from this first build."

CBC reported that the final cost, including furnishings, was less than $400,000. 

"We know where we can cut costs down," said German.



Since plastic is so durable, the panels can withstand winds twice as strong as a Category-5 hurricane.

JD Composites Inc.

JD Composites tested the panels at a certification facility, where the walls successfully endured 326-mile-an-hour winds. Winds for a Category-5 hurricane start at 157 miles per hour. 

Read more: How to hurricane-proof your home, according to an architect who designs homes that could withstand Category 4 hurricanes



But the windows still need to be storm-proofed.

JD Composites Inc.

The home comes with glazed windows, which the US Federal Emergency Management Agency has described as "very vulnerable to damage from wind forces and windborne debris."

In the event of a hurricane, the consequence of a broken window can be grave: It causes air pressure to rise and the house to blow apart from the inside.

German said the home could be equipped with added hurricane-proof features. Many homes built to withstand a hurricane come outfitted with steel shutters, concrete pilings, hurricane straps, and impact-rated garage doors. 

 

 



Nova Scotia may not see many hurricanes, but the home could be a solution for vulnerable areas like Louisiana.

JD Composites Inc.

Hurricane Barry marks the first hurricane of 2019. With the Atlantic hurricane season running from June until November, the year's worst storms could be yet to come.