(08/11/23) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter LaHouse Research and Education Center is receiving $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to conduct education aimed at improving the resilience of Louisiana communities to severe weather.
The funding provides resources to conduct extension and outreach across Louisiana to homeowners, building professionals, policy makers and children on the benefits of going beyond the minimum required code to prepare a home for high-speed winds.
“Building or rebuilding homes the way we always have is not enough to protect families and communities from severe weather,” said Carol Friedland, LaHouse director. “With the upcoming Louisiana Fortify Homes Program and the continuing insurance crisis in Louisiana, educating the public on what they can do to protect their homes during severe weather is essential.”
The Louisiana Fortify Homes program distributes grants for up to $10,000 for homeowners to upgrade their roofs to FORTIFIED Roof standards, Friedland said.
Partnering with the Southern University Ag Center, LSU and Smart Home America, the project team will conduct focus groups and community training on the FORTIFIED high wind standard. The Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety developed the FORTIFIED standard based on decades of research. FORTIFIED is a voluntary building code standard that goes beyond the minimum building code requirements to strengthen a home.
“We are excited to expand our existing emergency preparedness program, Jagriculture, to now include mitigation education,” said Krystle J. Allen, SU Ag Center’s Jagculture project director and program leader for Family and Consumer Sciences. “This will truly allow us to help low-resource and underserved communities with sustainability, housing, and recovery.”
Research at LaHouse has found that implementing strategies from the FORTIFIED Roof requirements reduced wind loss up to 38%. FORTIFIED Silver elements reduced wind loss up to 73%, and the Gold standard reduced loss due to high wind up to 80%. LaHouse, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary, conducts research on strategies to reduce damage to the home from high-speed winds and floods. The facility allows visitors to explore exhibits that display resilient, sustainable and healthy housing techniques best suited for the Gulf of Mexico region.
The LSU AgCenter LaHouse Research and Education Center will receive $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to conduct education aimed at improving the resilience of Louisiana communities to severe weather. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture