Eco-Panels in the Caribbean After Irma - UPDATE

Eco-Panels has long been active in the Caribbean, with multiple projects on the Island of St. John.  Our panels were recognized as superior and desired by the developer due to their strength, extreme energy efficiency and resistance to both high wind and seismic forces.  The standard method of construction in the Caribbean is concrete - yet as Haiti showed us, concrete does not fare well in a highly active seismic environment like the Caribbean (don't forget that most of the islands in the Caribbean are of volcanic origin).  And recently in new development discussions we were learning that the cost of concrete on the Island of St. John - before Hurricane Irma - was in the range of $900-$1,000 per cubic yard - it is presently about $125 per cubic yard near our factory in North Carolina.

Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Irma in all of the Caribbean.  And we hope that we can assist in the reconstruction that will occur on many islands like Barbuda, Antigua, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Martin/St. Maarten as well as the British Virgin Islands like Tortola and Virgin Gorda.  There will be massive labor shortages during this reconstruction effort, and the cost of concrete due to the high demand will skyrocket.  Yet we have shown that we can build multi-story structures in the Caribbean that can survive these storms and we require almost no concrete and at the same time need only minimally skilled labor.  In fact many of our clients around the world act as an owner/builder and they build their own homes using our panels since traditionally the "stick-framing" of a home was just about the most complicated part of the process (stud frame construction is actually the weakest and least energy efficient method of construction allowed by US law (building code)).

The below top-most photo was found on-line in surveys of the damage on the Island of St. John immediately after Hurricane Irma.  We believe that that the buildings still standing in this photo that are not made from Eco-Panels are made from stone & morter or concrete block.  The photos below this image of devastation show more detail of the construction of these buildings years before Hurricane Irma struck (so gives you a good Before & After perspective).  UPDATE - we have been informed by the manager of the development on this side of the island that the buildings made from Eco-Panels were the ONLY buildings to survive without structural damage.  Every other building in the property - there were 30 or 40 of them - were either partially or entirely destroyed as a result of the winds from Hurricane Irma.

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