Climate change is here — is your house ready?

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - May• 07•09

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As you have seen on CNN.com and other news-gathering sites, the hills above Santa Barbara are ablaze once again, and the fire is threatening to sweep down into the city.

Climate change is here and we must respond by building and remodeling our homes to face weather-related problems. The easy days of thoughtless building practices are over.

And please don't suggest that people in areas with extreme weather don't live there. Where will we all go? Here are the places where weather-related events are becoming a problem:

Southwest: There may be increased drought and wildfires.
Northwest: Increased rain and flooding.
Midwest: Tornados, flooding and levee topping.
Northeast: Freezing, ice storms and power lines down.
Southeast: Hurricanes and flooding.

So, where ya gonna go to avoid weather? The solution is not to move or abandon communities, but to build houses suitable for the area. All homes in fire areas need to be fireproofed as much as possible, which includes clearing away trees and leaves and planting fire-resistant plants. Eaves should be sealed up, and attic vents need to be screened to prevent embers from entering. And any wood roofs need to go.

And in the drought areas, every home should have water-conserving toilets and sinks and washing machines, and get rid of those water-sucking lawns!

In areas subject to flooding, the houses need to be elevated. No more slab-on-grade homes in New Orleans, people! And all roofs in hurricane areas need to be tightly secured.

So, the future is here. Is your house ready?

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