Imagine if your house could float instead of being ruined by hurricane floodwaters. Engineers in Holland are doing more than dream about it. We’ll take a look, today on Engineering Works!
During 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita hammered coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas with wind and floodwaters. The water ruined thousands of homes. It’ll take years to rebuild.
People in Holland live with the threat of this kind of flooding all the time. Not from hurricanes, but from big storms in the North Sea. More than a quarter of the country is below sea level. And it’s sinking a little every year. They depend on a huge system of dikes, pumps and canals to keep everything dry.
Dutch engineers and architects have come up with an idea they say should avoid a lot of the flood damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Houses that float. Instead of being anchored in the ground, these houses have foundations that are waterproof, like boats. To keep the houses from floating away, they slide up and down on big steel columns, as much as 15 feet.
Right now, the houses are pretty expensive. About $350,000 for a 1,300 square-foot house. A lot of the extra cost goes to making connections for household utilities flexible. Only a few dozen houses have been built so far. The designers say that price should come down as more are built.
There’s no high water forecast around here, and that’s it for this time.
Photo from Ecoboot, a site about Dutch floating houses.