The Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association (AIUA) has partnered with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to develop a roof aging farm in Foley, Ala. This longer-term research project was designed to help determine how different roofing materials are impacted by weather and aging in real-world conditions, according to a statement from IBHS.
The Foley roof aging farm consists of two 15-foot x 30-foot structures, each equipped with multiple panels that will be evaluated over a 20-year period (assessed in five-year intervals), to determine which kinds of roofs better resist weather damage and how different climates play a part.
Panels will be tested for wind, fire and impact resistance. Additionally, a solar-powered onsite weather station will continually collect data, documenting temperatures, humidity and solar radiation levels.
The new roof aging farm was opened April 19 at the Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley Graham Creek, which features nearly 500 acres of natural habitats including pine savannas, bottomland wetlands, mixed forests and tidal marshes.
“This unique research project at Graham Creek Nature Preserve is a tremendous opportunity for AIUA and IBHS to gather important information about roofing materials that may help local homeowners save money on roof repairs and replacements,” said Sue Cook, chair of the AIUA board of directors.
AIUA, which is a long-time member of IBHS, hopes by investing in this project and partnering with IBHS policyholders will be helped to understand the benefits of choosing upgraded construction materials for their homes by testing different materials exposed to all types of weather conditions in a Gulf Coast environment, Cook said.
The Foley project will further benefit the local community as the two structures will serve as shaded pavilions for park patrons.
In addition to Foley, IBHS has developed roof aging farms in several other geographic locations in the U.S. to test the impact of different climates, including in Amelia, Ohio; Madison, Wisc.; Olathe, Kan.; and Richburg, S.C.
“Property-casualty claim studies have identified lower performance for older roofs, as products are exposed to the natural elements and degrade, with the amount of degradation expected to vary with the local environment,” said Tanya Brown-Giammanco, Ph.D., vice president, research at IBHS. “Adding a roof aging farm in a Gulf Coast community like Foley will bring a fresh perspective and critical climate to our research program. Natural aging of roofs in various climates, coupled with systematic testing for wind and impact resistance, will provide us with invaluable data to improve vulnerability assessments.”
The mission of the Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association (AIUA), formed with the Alabama Department of Insurance, is to provide a market for owners of eligible property located in coastal areas of Baldwin and Mobile counties to obtain insurance coverages when they are unable to obtain coverage in the private insurance market.
IBHS’ mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss.
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