Built to Last: A Decade of Sustainable Science
By Roy Wright
A dozen years ago, most of us hadn’t heard of Richburg, South Carolina. Yet you, our members, were soon investing millions of dollars there. Because of your commitment to property loss reduction, the IBHS Research Center came to life to advance the scientific understanding of severe weather perils and their interaction with the homes and businesses you serve. Against a record-setting year for hurricanes and wildfires, 2020 reinforced the importance of the pioneering research we have been doing at the IBHS Research Center for the past decade.
I hope you will take a few minutes to view Built to Last: A Decade of Sustainable Science (below), a short documentary that looks back at momentum we have created as the IBHS Research Center became the powerhouse it is today—shaping the built environment and shaping resilience for American consumers and communities.
The IBHS Research Center’s unique capabilities have enabled us to deliver solutions to stop the cycle of repeated avoidable loss. What seemed impossible ten years ago has become reality because of your ongoing investment in the facility, for example:
- The FORTIFIED Home™ and FORTIFIED Commercial™ standards that were a “beacon of hope” when Alabama was hit by the punishing winds of Hurricane Sally earlier this fall.
- Our field-tested formula for manufacturing hail led to a breakthrough test standard that already has removed poor-performing products from the impact-resistant asphalt shingle market.
- The recreation of realistic ember storms validated the importance of the 0-5 foot home ignition zone in reducing wildfire risk and led to the development of our Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps.
I’ve visited the aftermath of countless disasters over the years and spoken with the families in need of these solutions. Two years ago, I walked through the ashes of my parents’ home after the Camp Fire took it and 18,803 other structures and resolved to address the suburban wildfire landscape. At the time, a resolve that seemed far-fetched. Yet this year, the Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps brought us one giant step forward. Qualitatively we know what to do. It is the first step and one that hits home for me – and made possible only because of your support for the past decade.
The extraordinary capabilities of the Research Center produce one-of-a-kind data sets and compelling visuals to bolster our voice and garner the attention of stakeholders. Builders, homeowners, contractors, building code officials, and manufacturers listen when IBHS speaks. Marking our first decade is just the beginning. Our new 2021-2023 Disaster Safety Strategy will underscore the important pathways pioneering science must take to address the problems that will confront us in the years ahead—climate change, vulnerable populations, proof points for resilience, and the growing impact of disasters in our heartland. Thank you for being part of our past and our future.
IBHS President and CEO