A house made of plastic soda bottles can withstand winds twice as strong as a Category 5 hurricane. Take a look inside.

The home was made with more than 600,000 plastic bottles.

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The home was made with more than 600,000 plastic bottles.
source
JD Composites Inc.

  • Hurricanes are becoming stronger and more devastating, generating a need for technologies to keep homes safe.
  • A Canadian construction firm recently built a home made of plastic panels that it says can hold up during a Category 5 hurricane.
  • While plastic is often sturdier than conventional building materials, the home is still missing features like steel shutters and hurricane straps.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more.

Hurricane Barry didn’t create as much damage as its predecessors like Katrina or Harvey, but it did serve as a reminder that hurricanes are becoming stronger and more devastating.

When the Category 1 storm hit the Louisiana coast on Saturday, about 75,000 homes and businesses lost power. If the winds had picked up, they might have been powerful enough to uproot trees or damage homes.

While designing homes to withstand hurricanes often requires extra cash, construction companies are slowly finding new ways to bring hurricane-safe features to the masses.

Recently, a Canadian construction firm called JD Composites built a 2,000-square-foot home made of recycled plastic bottles that it says can also withstand Category 5 winds.

Take a look inside the sleek (but sound) structure.


It took more than 600,000 plastic soda bottles to construct the home’s paneled walls.

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The home is in Nova Scotia, a province in eastern Canada.
source
JD Composites Inc.

The bottles were shredded, melted, and injected with a gas that turned them into foam. That foam was then molded into 6-inch-thick panels, which formed the walls of the home.


The plastic bottles were rejected by the recycling industry.

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The plastic walls mimic real wood.
source
JD Composites Inc.

As recycling becomes more expensive for local governments, many cities have resorted to disposing of recyclable goods in landfills. Batches of recycling with nonrecyclable items like greasy pizza boxes or yogurt cups can also be discarded as trash.

Read more: China is refusing to take ‘foreign garbage’ from the US, so these 6 cities are burning or throwing away your recycling


The panels took seven hours to build, but the company says they’re sturdier than most.

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The kitchen has traditional furnishings.
source
JD Composites Inc.

The home has a total of 170 panels bonded with chemicals instead of nails and shingles, which can come loose during a hurricane.


JD Composites says the home costs either the same as or about 10% more than a conventional structure of the same size.

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JD Composites said it considered renting the home on Airbnb.
source
JD Composites Inc.

“We had a lot of learning curves, so profit margins will be minimal,” said Joel German, the company’s vice president. “But we will gain in knowledge from this first build.”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the final cost, including furnishings, was less than $400,000.

“We know where we can cut costs down,” German said.


Since plastic is so durable, the panels can withstand winds twice as strong as a Category 5 hurricane, JD Composites says.

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The home has three bedrooms.
source
JD Composites Inc.

The company said it tested the panels at a certification facility, where the walls endured 326 mph winds. Category 5 hurricane winds start at 157 mph.

Read more: How to hurricane-proof your home, according to an architect who designs homes that could withstand Category 4 hurricanes


But the windows still need to be storm-proofed.

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The living room and dining area.
source
JD Composites Inc.

The home comes with glazed windows, which the US Federal Emergency Management Agency has described as “very vulnerable to damage from wind forces and windborne debris.”

In the event of a hurricane, the consequence of a broken window can be grave: It can cause air pressure to rise and the house to blow apart from the inside.

German said the home could be equipped with added hurricane-proof features. Many homes built to withstand a hurricane come outfitted with steel shutters, concrete pilings, hurricane straps, and impact-rated garage doors.


Nova Scotia may not see many hurricanes, but the home could be a solution for vulnerable areas like Louisiana.

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A view from the roof.
source
JD Composites Inc.

Hurricane Barry marks the first Atlantic hurricane of 2019 – but as the season runs from June until November, worse storms could be yet to come.