Exactly 365 days since the tornado ripped through her house, Helen Owen returns home. This time, however, she is living in a new home that will withstand 250 mph winds and promises to dramatically reduce her utility bills.

"We are very excited at the progress being made on the homes being built in Joplin," said Jeff Nene senior director of public relations for Convoy of Hope. "We anticipate being able to present the keys from the first home to its new owner on the one year anniversary of the Joplin tornado. These new homes are setting the bar high in terms of quality, energy efficiency and storm resiliency.

Convoy of Hope, a faith-based emergency relief organization based in Springfield, MO, has donated the homes. The homes are being constructed under General Contractor, George Van Hoesen of Global Green Building. Van Hoesen will be using the ThermoForm system by TF Forming Systems, the same company building the Pensmore home in Highlandville, MO.

Although many of her possessions are gone, Helen and others like her now have a chance at living in a safer, more energy efficient environment. This means that those who were unable to pay for insurance, utilities, food and medication before the tornado, will now be able to afford all of them, thanks to Convoy of Hope, Global Green Building and TF Forming Systems.

“Joplin is no different than any other town in the world,” Van Hoesen explains. “They have home grown restaurants, farm stores, schools and places to play and work. The big difference is that this town lost 8,000 homes to an event that we will see more and more of: tornadoes. Where it is not tornadoes, it is other kinds of weather that can devastate communities. In the past we have just taken our chances with building structures that can withstand the average weather event common to the areas where we live. Insurance companies make their living off of us gambling on these events not happening to us. As we see insurance rates rise, as these events get bigger and more frequent, we should understand that the construction methods of the past are not how we should be building today.”

Van Hoesen goes on to say that these hyper energy efficient homes are coming just in time as energy prices continue to rise, making something as simple and necessary as heating and cooling a luxury for many.

“We have the ability by the way we choose to build to reduce the burden on energy and the risk we place on ourselves from storms and natural disasters,” he says. “Using systems like ThermoForm from TF Forming Systems we can affordably build stronger more stable structures that last centuries while dramatically reducing the energy needed to run a house or business.

“There isn’t a valid excuse for not building with ICF and resilient construction methods. The bottom line shows that the benefits far outweigh the small initial cost difference and we can put more money back in your pocket every month if
you are financing your home. Home loans are at low rates and energy is at all time high prices.”

Six homes are currently under construction with the promise of a dozen more completed within this year. All home recipients were chosen based on certain criteria set forth by Convoy of Hope.

About TF Forming Systems: TF Forming Systems is an industry-leading manufacturer of insulated concrete forms (ICF) and complete integrated concrete wall systems for residential and commercial construction. Our wall systems offer the ultimate in energy efficiency and disaster resistance. In business for over 15 years, TF Forming Systems products have been used in thousands of projects across the globe, spanning the market from simple residential structures to architectural masterpieces. In 2005, TF entered the commercial construction segment and since that time has supplied wall systems for numerous commercial structures, including retail, churches, hotels, cold storage, municipal, schools, offices, and government buildings.

Project Details:
Non-profit relief organization: Convoy of Hope
General Contractor: George Van Hoesen, Global Green Building
Building System: TF Forming Systems
Total number of homes: 18, six beginning immediately
Location: Between 15th and 32nd Streets
Home details:
• 1150 SF
• 2 & 3 bedroom
• 1 ½ bath