The Dubuisson home will resemble others in the traditional Pass Christian neighborhood when construction is complete this summer yet underneath will be a superstructure built to withstand 200 mile-per-hour winds and cut wind insurance premiums to $1,000 a year.
The home is two miles from the Mississippi Sound, and the $1,004 wind insurance rate is based on a home value of $375,000 and a 2 percent deductible.
The state wind pool charge is $1,500 a year on a $110,000 house and architect Zachary Klee, with Klee Odom and Klee in Biloxi, said the wind insurance on his $180,000 home in the same zone costs three times as much as Dubuisson’s house.
“I knew it was going to save me money,” homeowner Jan Dubuisson said of the concrete construction, “but I didn’t know how much.”
What gives the home its strength is Autoclaved Aerated Concrete block. The blocks are made offsite with natural materials such as sand, lime, aluminum powder and water. A chemical reaction occurs when the concrete is mixed and cast, resulting in a product that is one-fifth the weight of standard concrete blocks light enough to float.
The AAC blocks cut like wood and interior ducts for water lines and electrical are routed into the 8-inch thick walls that have an R-30 insulation value.
Construction superintendent Jonathan Murray of Pearl River, La., said it took a crew of eight three days to build the shell of the house.
The home is rated to exceed winds of 200 miles per hour in a zone that requires homes to sustain 130 mph winds. The additional expense for building the 1,475-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath home is for wind performance, said Klee, not for the green design.
Dubuisson owned the five-acre property on a heart-shaped lake for 25 years. She wanted a traditional home that fits the look of the neighborhood where she and her husband raised their family, but she also wants it to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Concrete board exterior walls will give the home character and energy savings, Klee said. A metal roof will be attached over wood trusses and construction will be complete in 60 to 90 days.
“We’re using advanced framing technologies on the inside,” said builder John Goff, and reducing scrap by having the studs factory-cut to size for the 9-foot, 4-inch walls.
Leftover pieces of the AAC blocks will be crushed for the driveway rather than dumped in a landfill, he said.
The home was built without cutting any trees and positioned on a lot that is two-thirds wetlands to get the views and cooling from the lake, said Klee. Three sets of double French doors will open from the great room and another set leads from the master bedroom to the cypress deck that overlooks the lake.
Dubuisson said she got her love of the environment from her father, who was her inspiration for building a green home overlooking a lake where turtles sun.
“I think he would just have totally enjoyed doing something like this,” she said.
(Concrete houses have been sprouting up in southern Alabama, Mississippi and elsewhere in the Gulf Coast region for a number of years. Carl Schneider of Schneider Insurance Agency Inc., in Mobile, Ala., built a concrete home for his family in 2001. Since then, he has tried to educate consumers and legislators in about home fortification and tried to convince fleeing insurers to return to the coastal market.)
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