rain, rain, go away
Houston startup saves homes with self-deploying flood damage prevention
Tasha Nielsen was on a trip to Denmark when she came across a Danish company making strides in flood-prevention techniques.
"We were visiting family one day, when we turn on the news and see FloodFrame's brand launch," Nielsen says. "The inventors live in Denmark, and they've done installations in Denmark, Germany and England, and they've been very successful."
That company partnered with the Danish Technological Institute and the Danish Hydraulic Institute and worked for years perfecting their flood prevention system. After Nielsen asked whether she could contract FloodFrame to install their system at her home back in Houston, she learned the founders weren't interested in coming over themselves to expand their business to the United States.
So, Nielsen took the reins to create the U.S. iteration of FloodFrame. The company provides flood protection to any building, including your home or business. And while it definitely takes inspiration from its European counterpart, Nielsen used her degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M — specifically her speciality in hydraulics, hydrology and storm design — to launch the business in one of the most flood-ravaged cities in the United States: Houston.
FloodFrame works by using buoyancy. A lightweight cloth is wrapped around a tube is installed underground outside the perimeter of your home or business. One end of that cloth is attached to a box that is also installed underground. As flooding begins, an automatic system will release the lids to deploy the inflation of the tube that will protect the structure. When the flood comes in, the system will float on top of the flood — kind of like a pool noodle — and protect the structure from the water.
FloodFrame adds a level of security during flooding events and can be considered more cost-effective when compared to the high cost of renovating or rebuilding after flooding.
"Right now we are focused on residential, but I think there's a huge potential for it to go commercial. A lot of commercial buildings are self insured, and commercial developers, industrial developers, this would be a drop in the bucket for the overall cost of the entire project," Nielsen says. "For homeowners, it's kind of a bigger expense, but I think there is the potential for homebuilders to include it as an option in the entire package of a new house, because when you put it in to a mortgage, it's only another like $0.50 a month."
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