The LSU AgCenters Louisiana House - Resource Center

Patricia Skinner, Reichel, Claudette Hanks, Gautreaux, Craig, Benedict, Linda F.  |  12/23/2006 7:37:55 PM

It’s designed to stand up to hurricane-force winds, swarming insects and harmful humidity. It’s not an underground shelter but a family-type home designed to showcase innovations in home construction for Louisiana’s sub-tropical climate.

Audio promo - LaHouse features energy and hurricanes

The LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana House – Home and Landscape Resource Center provides a model for the public to learn about technological advances in housing. Better known as LaHouse, the center is located on a 7-acre site near the LSU Golf Course off the Nicholson Drive-Gourrier Ave.-Burbank Ave. intersection. Because of its location, the house has an architectural style that mirrors other campus buildings. The goal of LaHouse is to educate homeowners, home builders and architects in the methods that can be used to make homes more user- and resource-friendly.

LaHouse is an outgrowth of a statewide educational outreach program of the LSU AgCenter and its numerous partners yet is rapidly expanding its reach throughout the Gulf Coast region. Since shortly after hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought our region such devastation, LaHouse has been instrumental in educating homeowners, home builders, designers, inspectors and others about a range of locally appropriate ways to make homes more storm-resistant, energy-efficient and user-friendly.

Sustainable Housing

A focal point of the project is examining the issue of sustainability, which means meeting current needs without jeopardizing future generations. Sustainable housing and development must integrate and balance resource efficiency, durability and health with practicality and convenience to become integrated into home construction. To homeowners, sustainability must be affordable and aesthetically appealing and meet their needs and desires. To builders and architects, it means do-able, practical and marketable.

LaHouse exhibits four different high-performance building systems – all fortified for high wind resistance -- four alternative foundation systems for flood zones, three different high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems with ventilation and dehumidification for optimal air quality, and a wide variety of products and features that offer special benefits – all in one house.

The design firm for the project is Remson-Haley-Herpin Architects. The general contractor is Wooden Creations.

Environmental Challenges

Elements of LaHouse are specifically designed to meet the environmental challenges to homes along the Gulf Coast. For hurricane protection, metal connectors, structural sheathing with blocking, special nails and spacing, and water barriers were used throughout the house and teaching center, which is in the garage. In addition, the house exhibits a storm-safe room, which takes the form of low-cost reinforceing of a walk-in closet for moderate impact resistance.

For protection from Formosan termites, three primary strategies are being implemented in LaHouse – a wire-mesh barrier system, chemically treated wood and a soil treatment underneath the concrete slab. The barrier system, called Termi-Mesh, is anchored along the perimeter of the foundation and clamped to plumbing pipes. The mesh is durable, and the openings are too small for termites to enter.

LaHouse Lagniappe

  • Landscaping at LaHouse features plants adapted to drought conditions to conserve water resources.
  • The home features three heating, cooling, ventilation and dehumidification systems for comfort, efficiency and indoor air quality.
  • Advanced, energy-efficient appliances, lighting controls and structured wiring are used throughout the home.
  • Three elevated foundation systems for flood zones, dry flood-proofing and wet flood-proofing are demonstrated.
  • LaHouse has already been featured in local and national media, including Coastal Contractor trade journal, Home Energy magazine, Automated Builder magazine, Builder-Architect and the Times Picayune of New Orleans.

The Safer, Stronger, Smarter Louisiana House - Hurricane Edition is an LSU AgCenter publication that describes in words and construction photos the hurricane resistance features of LaHouse.

Visit the LaHouse Web site on LSUAgCenter.com

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