This New Orleans home showcases a variety of wood technologies and is built for sustainability in extreme environments. The two-story residence, raised eight feet above grade on a wood-frame foundation, is designed to resist natural forces common to Gulf Coast living — high winds and potential flooding, and voracious Formosan termites. Like many New Orleans-area homes, the structure’s foundation starts with driven piles topped with a slab on grade. Twelve piles then rise eight feet above grade to support the first and second floor living areas. Piles offer superior resistance to flood surge. The area beneath the first floor serves as the garage and storage. The living area is elevated well above the FEMA Base Flood Elevation, protecting the living space and saving the homeowner up to 50% on flood insurance premiums.

Raised floor systems support the floodplain management principle of “No Adverse Impact,” while time-consuming and expensive alternatives like slab atop fill or a backfilled perimeter wall can worsen flooding for neighbors and cause higher flood peaks. Meeting new building code requirements in flood and wind zones is also easy with a raised foundation. Using code-approved connections helps the structure resist surging waters and flotation as well as wind speeds up to 150 mph or higher.

For optimum resistance to Formosan termites, the home is framed entirely in pressure-treated wood. Used in conjunction with traditional termite controls such as soil treatments and termite barriers, treated framing offers a practical, cost-effective defense against termite damage. By extending the life of wood products in service, treated wood also helps ease overall demand on forest resources.