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Community and Q&A

How to best protect a passive house from wind?

Steve Young | Posted in General Questions on

What ideas do you have on how be best protect a house from the Zone IV wind area? I am planning a passive house. Is there specific roof and building outside (like bricks maybe)?

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  1. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #1

    Steve. Are you referencing FEMA wind zone guidelines? If so, it sounds like you are in an area with exposure to hurricane-force winds. Is that correct?

  2. Steve Young | | #2

    No. We will not be on the coast, but that is where i am now, and I build homes for Windstorm Insurance. My wife posted this question, therefore, I am not certain where she picked up the "Zone IV". IBHS list the area as prone to thunderstorm and strong winds. Currently, I am planning on using some of the Simpson Strongtie strapping - threaded red connecting top plate to j-bolts on slab (I don't like the strapping that goes on the outside or inside of the studs, on the short side of the dimensional lumber), and H-10's connecting trusses to top plates. Any other insights would be greatly appreciated.

    Steve Young

  3. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #3

    There is good information in this Q&A Spotlight:

    Texas Tech also offers some advice and links at

    How far you need to go with wind protection depends on your level of risk. If you live in tornado alley, a storm shelter, basement, or safe room would certainly provide some peace of mind.

  4. Jonathan Lawrence CZ 4A New Jersey | | #4


    Is your concern that a passive house is more prone to wind damage than a code house?

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #5

    Steve Young,
    How far you want to go depends on how worried you are about high winds.

    Of course, you have to comply with local building codes. If you want an example of a building code used in high wind areas, you should study the provisions of the High Velocity Hurricane Zone requirements for Miami and Dade County (Florida). Complying with these requirements costs more money than conventional construction, of course.

    If you are worried about winds, (a) Build ICF walls, (b) Make sure that your rafters are securely strapped to the top of your walls, (c) Make sure that your roof sheathing is securely fastened to your rafters (and that the fasteners didn't miss the framing), and (d) Choose windows and doors rated for high wind regions.

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