Industry Trends5 min

De-Coding Climate Zones: Planning Resilient Construction

While sustainability is continuing its reign as a key purchase consideration for homebuyers, we’re seeing indications that “resiliency” is trending for 2022. Resilient construction is about intentionally building for both sustainability and strength perspectives. Essentially, a well-built resilient home is constructed to withstand adverse natural and manmade disasters. In fact, the Urban Land Institute defines resilience construction as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events.” 

Resilient building for location

While it’s daunting to prepare for every natural disaster Mother Nature throws at you, one way builders are planning resilient construction is by examining climate zone maps and considering best practices for resilient building for location. Climate zones are one way builders can predict the types of weather they’ll need their structures to resist.

Every three years, the International Code Council (ICC) updates several codes, including the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC climate zone map was developed to provide a simplified, consistent approach to defining climate for implementation of various codes. 

In 2003, with direction from the Building America teams, researchers at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory simplified the U.S. IECC map into eight climate zones. They are defined by the number of heating degree days, average temperatures and precipitation: 

  • Hot-humid
  • Mixed-humid
  • Hot-dry
  • Mixed-dry
  • Cold
  • Very-cold
  • Subarctic
  • Marine

In the latest December 2020 release, about 10 percent of all U.S. counties shifted to a warmer climate zone. These counties represent some highly populated, metropolitan areas that are experiencing considerable construction activity. 

Building for climate zones with better energy efficiency

Builders rely on climate zones to know what energy codes and standards to follow. However, as resiliency takes comes to mind, homes should strive to meet the challenges of the climate where they are built. To do this, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re using the newest climate zone map. 

“Resiliency will always mean different things to different people because nature’s threats are geographically specific,” says Craig Miles, Director of OSB Sales & Marketing at LP Building Solutions. “Phoenix has high heat, whereas Texas has high heat and strong winds. Florida and the Carolinas have moisture-rich humidity and salt. The Plains and Midwest have storms and straight-line winds, while the North has below-freezing temperatures.”

Using the climate zone map to determine building materials helps achieve a certain measure of confidence. “Resiliency in building materials gives you a more predictable series of outcomes as well as the ability to withstand weather and other external threats,” says Miles. 

For example, to guard against the hot, beating sun, LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier can help your air conditioning be more effective and can also help lower your energy costs to a more predictable level, especially in climate zones 1–4. For climate zones that experience moist and humid conditions, LP Legacy® Premium Sub-Flooring guards against moisture threats––even hard rain before the roof goes up––while adding floor strength.

The climate zone map dictates many of the energy-efficiency measures buildings must use and are especially relevant to the building envelope. 

For more about resilient construction no matter where you live, read “How to make your builds more weather-resistant.” 

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Business Advice4 min

Choosing Materials: Best Siding for Cold Climates

January and February typically usher in the season’s coldest temperatures, bringing the need to use building materials that can withstand frigid temperatures with them. However, it’s often the freeze/thaw cycle––cold days followed by quick warm-ups––that can cause significant damage to a home’s siding. So, what is the best siding for cold climates to combat this?

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Business Advice4 min
Best House Sheathing for Cold Climates

With temperatures dropping, insulation and protecting new construction against the elements are top of mind. Of course, builders must consider how insulated wall sheathing can help meet code requirements and contribute to the overall performance of the building envelope. However, they must also carefully consider potential moisture problems both during and after the build and the potential impacts of freeze/thaw cycles. With the season of potential hard freezes followed by fast warm-ups upon us, let’s explore methods for choosing the best house sheathing for cold climates.

Business Advice5 min
Building a House During Winter: Cold Weather Construction Safety Tips

With housing demand at an all-time high, builders do not have the ability to halt home construction during the winter months. Builders can work safely year round, even building houses during winter with planning and preparation. Advanced products and installation methods allow work to be performed during wet and very cold temperatures, but builders also need to consider winter safety for construction workers.

Business Advice4 min
Engineered Wood Siding in Multifamily Developments

Engineered wood siding has long been considered a trustworthy exterior product for single-family homes, but it is often overlooked for multifamily and commercial construction. LP® SmartSide® products are versatile enough for a range of builds beyond traditional single-family homes. Take a look at the homes featured in Madison Parade of Homes for siding inspiration and to see how LP SmartSide Trim & Siding might suit your building needs.