Solid framework for energy efficiency

Having suffered severe loss of property and possessions
at the hands of Hurricane Ivan, the September 2004 Cat 4/5 hurricane that
wreaked havoc on Grand Cayman, Lindsay Scott, owner of LAS Development decided
that he did not ever want to go through such an experience again, and was
therefore galvanised into building a home for himself and his family that would
be as resistant to the forces of nature as a building could possibly be.

This month we find that Lindsay Scott is a happy man – delighted
that the standing seam metal roof has now been completed, and the Tiltco
hurricane resistant windows from Windoworld have all been installed.

He says: “The basic external construction has been
installed which means the building is protected from the elements. We
concentrated on ensuring that the external features – such as the solid
concrete walls and Tiltco windows which can withstand 165 mph winds – would
provide the best possible protection against natural disasters such as
hurricanes and earthquakes.”

Well constructed windows

The Tiltco windows are bolted to the concrete walls at 16
different points.  Then the windows are
caulked twice to ensure that no water can penetrate the window openings.  The first layer of caulking seals between the
window opening and the window frame and the second layer of caulking seals
between the exterior finish and the window frame.  

“It’s very important to properly seal windows, “ Scott
says, “because water penetration can do a great deal of damage over time and provide
you with a weak link in your armory against the elements.”

The Tiltco windows are double glazed and the gap between
each window is filled with a special gas that provides excellent insulation.
The windows are also treated so that 99 per cent of harmful UV rays from the
sun are filtered out. They can also, as their name implies, tilt as well as
open outwards, which means the interior is protected should it rain while the
windows are open and from sudden gusts of wind.

“These types of windows are more expensive than regular
windows but if you factor out the need for a hurricane shutter to protect the
window the price is about even,” he states.   

Internal construction under way

Now that the exterior has been constructed they can focus
on the internal construction to ensure that the house is as energy efficient
and environmentally sound as possible. “We can go ahead and install internal
construction features such as sheet rock, and we can work on wiring, plumbing,
a/c installation, and insulating the roof with Icynene foam insulation,” Scott

The roof has been treated with Icynene, which is a
special product that significantly reduces the temperature at the top of the

“Icynene provides a protective barrier, preventing the
heat from penetrating into the house and thus keeping the top of the house
cooler than normal. This is really important because it keeps the a/c system
cool and thereby allows the a/c to function more efficiently,”
Scott explains.

Scott has also installed an air extraction system which
is extremely efficient and quiet at the same time.

He explains: “The ventilation system pulls air out of
bathrooms to the air extraction system in the attic. Then the air is pumped at
high volume straight out of the house via a single outlet which lies underneath
the house. In keeping with the philosophy of keeping the house as impenetrable
as possible, this one outlet is tucked away so as not to be a danger during a

Scott says the result is a very quiet extraction system,
which is a huge benefit, along with a very powerful system that takes both
humidity and heat out of the house, coupled with the fact that the system exits
the extracted air from just a single hole.

Because of the efficiency of the a/c unit (a
top-of-the-range Daikin – which is energy and therefore cost efficient) Scott
says he could install the a/c piping in the floor trusses of the construction
(usually they are too big to fit there). This means he has gained an extra foot
in the height of his ceilings, which takes his downstairs rooms to a height of
10 ft and his upstairs rooms to 10 ft 8 inches. 

Scott has also installed a vacuum system which, he says,
needs to be considered at this early internal construction stage and not post

“Central vacuum systems are very common in the States and
Canada,” he says. “But they do require some forethought as the vacuum system
needs to be constructed within the wall space and so a retrofit would not be as

The mechanics of the vacuum system are housed neatly and
quietly under the staircase away from the rest of the house, while outlets for
the vacuum hose appear in each room in the wall. This means you don’t have to
lug a heavy vacuum cleaner around the home, you simply connect the hose to each

With an anticipated moving in date at the end of November
Scott is confident that he and his family will be in by Christmas, possibly
even Thanksgiving.