Friday, August 5, 2011


Tropical Storm Emily dissipated over Hispaniola yesterday, and we’ll probably see nothing worse than extra rain this weekend (in contrast to the terrible flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic). But the drastic summer weather raises another question about tin box: how do we protect a steel building from lightning?

Florida sees more lightning strikes than any other state, according to data collected by NASA. We have fewer lightning-induced wildfires than out west, however, because the vegetation doesn’t dry out the way it does in the Great Plains and the more arid western states. Nonetheless, our climate produces a lot of lightning strikes in South Florida.

We plan to install air terminals (lightning rods) along the upper roof and surge protection for the electrical system. We’ll blog more on lightning protection in the future, when we lay out the system. Interestingly, we can use our steel structure to conduct the electrical charge from the lightning to the ground, assuming we ground the structure with copper-coated steel rods driven ten feet into the ground.

[pictured above: Mountain Dwellings by the Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen, during July's epochal thunder storms. pictured below: intracloud lightning flash at sunset during the remnants of Emily, Miami.]

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