Monday, July 14, 2014



G2 Global model Earthship Taos N.M.
Photo By Biodiesel33. The south and east side of an Earthship passive solar home in Taos, New Mexico.
Firefighters around the nation have recognized the need to understand the dangers posed by "green" building construction or sustainable design. But a new generation of these types of buildings may further complicate things from a preincident planning perspective.
As CSX reports, some types of "radically sustainable" buildings and homes will potentially allow residents to completely cut ties with the electric grid and natural gas providers. Designed to mitigate homeowner's effects on the environment, these types of dwellings' design features may raise additional considerations for firefighters called to fires or other emergencies at these sites.
In the Northern Hemisphere, these buildings faces south to make best use of sunlight for heating, and their construction--of recycled materials--aims to maintain a stable temperature inside the structures. The homes capture rain and snow water for the residents main water source, and incorporate solar panels and wind modules for electrical uses.
In one case this year ( in Cape Coral, Florida, a woman who was living "off the grid" and refused to to use local power and water was being challenged by city code enforcement and had been ordered to "plug in."
The ultimate effect of such building features on emergency response has yet to be fully understood, although there is a growing awareness about the potential for problems with some elements already, such as solar panels. What is certain, however, is that firefighters called to respond to these structures will have to grapple with the unique features and hazards such buildings may pose.
For more on these homes features, go to
Hat tip to Adam Petrillo for bringing the story to our attention.


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