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Transplanted Floridians Find Greater Storm-Resistance and Energy Efficiency

When they moved into their first home in Florida in December 2003, retirees Randy and Karen Wiles were just happy to be in the sun, away from the snowdrifts of Buffalo, New York.

But they discovered Florida sunshine can come at a price when Hurricane Charley hit the Gulf Coast a few months later. The Wiles’ new home was out of the hurricane’s direct path and suffered minimal damage, but the broader devastation in the area left a permanent impression on the couple.

[IMAGE: The Wiles home is ENERGY STARĀ® qualified, which means it is at least 15 percent more energy efficiency than homes built to the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code.]

The Wiles Story

“That house held up quite well, but then we didn’t get hit anything like they did down in Punta Gorda,” Randy Wiles says. “Hurricane Charley made me think about storm-resistant building. I started to research the technologies and techniques available to build a more durable and efficient home.”

“We have no background in construction. We’ve had a few houses built over the years and watched how they do it. We learned from mistakes with previous builders. I wanted to be a little more hands-on this time around. So I used the Internet, did a lot of reading, and I talked to a lot of different people. It seems like everybody has got a different way of doing it.”

“I wasn’t really happy with the block house. It conducts an awful lot of heat. So I read up on panels, it seemed like a better way to go and a better way to build. It seems sturdier and faster.”

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