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  • Writer's pictureIsabel Rowe

Rising from the Rubble: Pioneering a Disaster-Resilient Future with Sustainable Construction

A World Under Siege Needing Disaster-Resilient Solutions

Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes are not just fodder for disaster movies—they are an everyday reality. Data doesn't lie; natural disasters strike with heightened frequency and devastation. We need to look no further than the recent wildfire destruction of Lahaina town on the island of Maui. The media does a great job covering the destruction but wanes regarding recovery and aftermath. The fallout from traditional construction is equally as important as the initial destruction.


Crumbling buildings release toxic chemicals that endanger survivors and responders. It doesn't have to be this way next time. Reconstruction crews can use materials that resist future fires, winds, rains, and 'quakes. Real estate developers can build with non-toxic materials. The aim is to minimize disaster devastation, shorten the recovery time, and reduce cleanup costs. Disaster-resistant and sustainable building materials are the answer. A company called Vero Building Systems offers a paradigm shift in construction with innovative panels to address the cataclysmic challenges of this tumultuous time.


Vero Building Systems

The Escalating Frequency of Devastating Disasters

Disasters are escalating in scale and intensity. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the number of billion-dollar disaster events adjusted for inflation has more than doubled in the U.S. since the 1980s. Worldwide, a report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction shows that weather-related disasters have surged, increasing 35% since the 1990s. This uptick translates to real human anguish, with millions displaced annually and recovery tolls running into the hundreds of billions. Climatologists warn that we may be on the precipice of an era where extreme weather events, from ferocious hurricanes to relentless wildfires, are the norm, not the exception.


The Maui Wildfire and the Poisonous Aftermath

Fire Town

Voracious wildfires tore through the heart of the island of Maui on August 8th, 2023. Flames devoured residential and commercial structures in Lahaina and left behind smoldering piles of toxic chemicals where structures once stood. Families were displaced, businesses shuttered, and cherished memories reduced to ashes. A month later, families were forbidden to return to their plots of land. A chain-link fence surrounds what was Lahaina, and authorities explained that it is unsafe for people to return.


Once lauded for their durability and cost-effectiveness, traditional building materials are lengthening the recovery time and exasperating costs for the families and the state. Insulation materials like asbestos are left behind in the town's rubble. Lead may also be present in older buildings painted with lead-based paint. Both release highly toxic chemicals into the air and potentially into the water supply. Dr. Ailani Keahi, a local environmental scientist, offered a grim assessment, "The toxins from burning insulation and paints don't just vanish. They seep into the ground, contaminate our water systems, and pose long-term health risks."


The community is reeling with heartbreak after losing their homes and livelihoods. Now, they face the ominous task of cleaning up a toxic legacy that could linger for years, if not decades. The Maui fires serve as a tragic testament to the dangers lurking within our building materials, highlighting the need for safer, more sustainable alternatives in construction.


Beyond Fires: When Other Disasters Strike

Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast in 2012 and hit New York and New Jersey hard. Streets flooded, and homes destroyed. As the seawater receded, it dragged a cocktail of toxins from destroyed buildings—lead, asbestos, and other hazardous substances—spreading them across communities and into waterways. Residents and rescue workers unknowingly waded through poisons as they attempted to rebuild the community. This can be prevented in the future. 


Hurricane

The tornado that leveled the town of Joplin, Missouri 2011 was one of the deadliest in U.S. history. Gail-force winds tore structures apart with terrifying ferocity. As homes, schools, and businesses were reduced to rubble, the airborne debris became a hazardous mix of chemicals, metals, and compounds from older constructions. Again, townsfolk were tasked with rebuilding their community in a dangerous, toxic landscape. This should not happen anymore.


The same old story can be found with the 2017 Earthquake in Mexico City, Hurricane Katrina, and the California wildfires. The truth about how we built our past is evident. In proposing a solution, we must first fully understand the problem.


Toxic Foundations in American Construction

The foundation of our urban landscapes is rooted in an era when materials and methods were favored based on availability, durability, and cost-effectiveness. They are not suited for the current state of the world. Technology advanced, and so did the climate. The walls and roofs meant to protect us could lead to our demise. But what lies dormant, sealed in our walls, floors, and roofs? What happens when they are disturbed by violent weather? 


Asbestos was once hailed as a wonder material in the mid-20th century due to its resistance to heat and fire. It found its way into everything from insulation to floor tiles. However, when these materials are disturbed, asbestos fibers can become airborne and, if inhaled, can lead to serious lung conditions, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Similarly, lead-based paints were prevalent in homes built before the 1980s. When lead paint deteriorates, the particles can become airborne. Lead exposure can lead to cognitive impairments, behavioral disorders, and other health complications if ingested or inhaled, particularly by children. These are only two of many materials that can cause harm to humans in the aftermath of a disaster.


Repercussions of toxic materials extend beyond direct human exposure. Chemicals can find their way into the soil, potentially entering the food chain and affecting wildlife and livestock. Moreover, the spread of such toxins into waterways can wreak havoc on aquatic life and compromise the quality of drinking water. In some cases, one disaster could make an area uninhabitable for decades. The imperative becomes clear: if we hope to thrive in the future, building with disaster-resistant and non-toxic materials is the way forward. For this, we can turn to the innovators at Vero Building Systems.


The Vero Vanguard: Disaster Resistant Construction

Vero Product

Vero Building Systems presents a revolutionary stride in contemporary disaster-resilient construction. Their Structural Concrete Insulated Panels (SCIP) were meticulously designed as cornerstones of modern infrastructure construction. The panels are durable and reinforced to weather environmental threats. At their core, the panels harness the strength of construction-grade polystyrene, known for its robust insulation properties. Protecting this core are layers of double-galvanized steel wire mesh interconnected with double connectors. Then, covered with shotcrete, a formidable type of high-strength concrete, the result is a building material that stands resolute against nature's harshest onslaughts - from raging tornadoes to scorching fires. But Vero's commitment doesn't end at mere strength. They sustainably source materials and manufacture their panels free from toxic chemicals, which sets them apart in an age desperate for green construction breakthroughs. 


The Resilient Blueprint of Vero

The fires in Maui lasted four days, but the cleanup will take years. This, in large part, is due to chemicals present in the ashes and the need to dispose of them carefully. With this in mind, the discourse shifts towards a more resilient and less harmful approach to construction. Vero Building Systems, with its SCIP Panels, emerges as the answer. These panels are engineered to resist fires for up to 120 minutes and promise minimal environmental repercussions in the aftermath of destruction. Unlike traditional materials that emit a toxic cocktail when burned, Vero's innovations promise an eco-friendly alternative. Using materials like construction-grade polystyrene and double-galvanized steel, the perilous emissions typically found after a building is destroyed are greatly minimized. And should the need arise to rebuild, Vero's panels are fully recyclable. This dual advantage - prolonged resistance and an environmentally conscious aftermath - marks Vero's offering as the future standard in disaster-ready construction.


Homes

Vero is at the right place at the right time

Vero introduction of groundbreaking alternatives in construction materials was timed perfectly. Their strategic foresight was validated in November 2021 with the publication of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The act catapulted issues of sustainability and resilience into the spotlight. Vero's pioneering solutions transitioned from an innovative luxury to an absolute necessity. This shift was not merely about meeting demand but about sculpting the future of a safer, more sustainably built environment.


A Pioneering Investment: Star Strong Capital's Stake in Tomorrow

Star Strong Capital set its sights on Vero Building Systems, identifying a lucrative venture and a game-changer for the construction industry. By backing Vero, Star Strong Capital showcased its commitment to championing forward-thinking construction to help build a disaster-resistant future. The investment was more than just a business decision; it was a pledge to nurture a brighter, eco-conscious future. Star Strong Capital's commitment extends beyond mere financial gains, exemplifying its dedication to diversity and inclusive growth within the industry.



The performance quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results.


Not all investments made by Star Strong Capital LLC should be expected to be profitable.


The information and opinions provided herein should not be taken as specific advice on the merits of any investment decision. Investors should make their own decisions based on such investors’ own review of publicly available information and should not rely on the information contained herein.


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