As you saw in my last post, Idaho’s a really great place and we took great strides in designing this home to the specific lot as well as for the climate. Much of the West can be described as high desert and with its coniferous trees can be prone to wildfires from lightning strikes and other causes.
Knowing this, we designed this year’s house with five key elements that make it wildfire resistant. Although we were not required to meet these for local codes, it just makes smart design sense to work with the environment instead of against it.
1. We created a non-combustible perimeter around the house by using crushed basalt mulch. The lower patio is entirely non-combustible stone pavers.
2. There are no vented eaves or other wall openings for embers to blow through and ignite wall spaces or attics.
3. Exterior roof and wall coverings are non-combustible. The roof is standing seam metal. Walls are largely cementious siding with accents of metal panels. The lower foundation walls are concrete.
4. Major structural elements of the house include steel columns and glue laminated beams that meet the requirements for heavy timber construction. Both of which are fire resistant or will delay failure from heat when compared to conventional framing.
5. No major coniferous trees within 30′ of the house & most are 50-75′ away. Not only does this keep pine needles and cones off roofs and walkways but it also increases the “defensible perimeter” of the house.
So while no home can be impervious to everything, we’ve increased the safety of this home when compared to code minimum construction.