Innovations in Equitable Technology for Wind Load Mitigation

Full Title: Elevated Coastal Communities Resilience through Innovations in Equitable Technology: An Engineering and Community-Guided Study to Mitigate Destructive High Wind Loads on Elevated Residences
Florida’s extensive coastline makes it vulnerable to weather-related hazards. Recent hurricanes have exposed vulnerabilities in elevated homes to extreme winds, highlighting challenges in design guidelines and retrofitting existing structures. This proposal seeks to address these challenges by introducing a community-guided engineering framework, collaborating with stakeholders to develop cost-effective architectural solutions to enhance coastal community resilience against future wind events.
Lead Investigator: Dr. Amal Elawady Assistant Professor Florida International University
Project Team: Dr. Nazife Emel Ganapati Professor Florida International University, Dr. David O. Prevatt Professor University of Florida
Collaborator: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Award Amount: $186,875
Year Funded: 2024
Award Period: 2024-2026
Project Abstract:

Florida faces significant human and financial challenges each year due to weather-related hazards. With its coastline spanning over 8,000 miles and to mitigate the risks of flooding and storm surges, it is recommended that coastal residential houses be elevated. However, recent hurricanes have demonstrated that these elevated homes are susceptible to severe damage from extreme winds. Our team has identified several key challenges hindering the achievement of resilient coastal communities. These challenges include the lack of design guidelines and provisions to accurately estimate wind loading considering the practical configurations of elevated homes, insufficient information and technology to strengthen and

retrofit existing elevated homes, and a lack of efforts to effectively communicate research findings with diverse stakeholders who can translate the research into practice. In this proposal, our team aims to introduce a community-guided engineering framework to facilitate an early-stage muti-sector stakeholders’ engagement to understand their priorities and needs particularly in underrepresented and underdeveloped communities. Informed by the community input coupled with wind tunnel testing studies, we will develop a cost-effective architectural device that can minimize the impact of wind hazards on coastal elevated houses. Also, the proposed experimental program will enable complementing the recently published design provisions for wind effects on elevated coastal homes. The nature of the proposed community-academia collaboration will promote diversity, engagement, and inclusion of multi-sector stakeholders including underrepresented communities through a series of workshops strategically designed to tailor the research efforts to help the impacted communities reach resiliency against future extreme wind events.

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