Team members from Stevens Institute of
Technology pull down the GFRP shutters,
which protect the house from flood waters.

For now, SURE HOUSE remains near the Solar Decathlon site in Irvine, Calif., awaiting shipment to a not-yet-determined east coast location. Wherever it lands, King says the house will serve as an exhibition for schools, industry and others to learn about sustainable, low-energy building practices and dry flood proofing techniques. In addition, he believes that widespread construction of hyper-energy efficient homes is right around the corner. “The way in which residential construction will be built in the very near future is the way we built our house,” he says. “It’s a way that residents can save a lot of energy, reduce their footprint and also live in a house that costs a lot less to run.”

As for the home’s innovative flood proofing, King hopes that SURE HOUSE will be a step toward a new type of street-level storm resilient house that is acceptable to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Flood Insurance Program. “We have worked to create a practical and real solution to storm resilience,” he says. “Rather than leveling the house and rebuilding it on stilts – the typical technique now – the house that we designed can survive a storm event and be lived in afterward.”

Industry and Academia: A Winning Combination

Gurit (USA) Inc. in Bristol, R.I., worked with students from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., for six months on the SURE HOUSE project. The company provided design data and tools and conducted finite element analysis on prototype shutters. It also checked students’ designs and specifications as the project progressed.

While Gurit’s assistance was invaluable to the student project, the company recognizes the long-term value to the composites industry as a whole. “Too often I see composites being used in civil architectural or building applications purely for its ability to create form and shape and color,” says Richard Downs-Honey, business development manager at Gurit (USA). “[The SURE HOUSE] gets something out there that shows composites in buildings can do more than just look good.”