Storm-Ready Garage Doors and Garage Door Openers Protect Coastal Green Home

Oct 20, 2015

After Hurricane Sandy destroyed Kim Erle’s house on October 29, 2012, her only choice was to rebuild.

Instead of simply making modifications to meet the new building codes, she decided to go above and beyond to build the coastal home of the future – a highly efficient, resilient house that would stand up to future storms and serve as a model for responsible building practices.

Her efforts resulted in the Sunset Green Home, which recently opened for tours.

Sunset Green HomeThe Sunset Green Home

The new residence is a sustainable, energy-efficient project registered through the LEED for Homes green building program with a certification goal of LEED Platinum.

LEED certification is a program designed and run by the United States Green Building Council, a coalition of developers from architects to general contractors that specializes in sustainable building practices.

Energy efficiency is one of the goals of LEED certification, but the standard also takes into account the quality of life of the occupant, sustainability, and the ability to recycle used building materials. Points are awarded for check items such as natural light and air quality, as well as carbon footprint-reducing utilities and materials.

Liftmaster garage door opener

Erle selected LiftMaster® Model 8550 Elite® Series garage door openers and Clopay® Canyon Ridge® Collection Limited Edition Series garage doors for the house because they provided the best combination of style, energy-efficiency, and low-maintenance durability.

One of the building code changes that came about after Sandy is that homes are now required to be a minimum of 12 feet above sea level. By comparison, Erle’s original house was only 5 feet above.

New house is now 14 feet above sea level

The main house now sits 14 feet above sea level. The garage is located underneath.

The Sunset Green Home has been built atop more than 100 pilings that elevate it two feet above the code-compliant base flood elevation.  So what did they do with all of the space under the house – which could flood in another bad storm?  That’s where they put the garage. 

Sustainability encompasses many qualities, like energy- and water-efficiency.  But it also includes durability and resiliency – relevant qualities to Sunset Green Home’s garage doors and openers, since they are located in a flood zone.

Erle consulted with the product engineering team at Clopay, and we recommended two garage door models that work well in a coastal environment: the Canyon Ridge Collection faux wood carriage house door and the contemporary Avante Collection aluminum and glass door. 

Avante - Door Imagination System options

Door Imagination System Option

Erle used Clopay’s Door Imagination System to see how each door style would look on the home. Unable to make a decision, she shared both images with her social media followers. Located in a region known for shingle-style coastal homes, the overwhelming choice was the more traditional and charming carriage house door.

A Better Door Company Truck

A Better Door, Sunset Green Home’s garage door contractor, installed the doors along with LiftMaster Model 8550 Elite Series garage door openers.  

On her blog, Kim outlined why Clopay’s Canyon Ridge Collection is a resilient door for a coastal application, and the best choice for the Sunset Green Home.

Clopay Canyon Ridge Collection Limited Edition Series

Clopay Canyon Ridge Collection Limited Edition Series faux wood carriage house garage doors, Design 11 with REC13 windows, Mahogany cladding and overlays, primed for painting.


She writes:

“Clopay’s three-layer Intellicore® insulation technology enhances the door’s rigidity and strength.  During Hurricane Sandy, large pieces of debris were pushed by the storm surge into the foundation and siding of our old home.  A non-insulated door does not have the same ability to withstand denting as an insulated garage door.

Inside of a garage

The garage doors feature a three-layer polyurethane foam insulated steel base door for maximum strength and energy efficiency.

Even though the Canyon Ridge door’s wood-grain composite cladding looks like real wood, the durable material won’t rot, warp or crack, which is important if there is a flood. The boards are molded from real wood pieces to replicate the grain pattern and natural texture. Like wood, the material can be painted or stained.

Faux wood composite doors

Faux wood composite doors are molded from pieces of wood to replicate the natural grain pattern and texture of the species it emulates.

The LiftMaster® 8550 Elite Series opener is an equally smart choice from the perspective of resiliency and durability.

garage door opener with battery back up feature

The garage door openers have a battery back-up feature so the doors can be opened during a power outage.

Sunset Green Home’s neighborhood lost power for a week following Hurricane Sandy.  The 8550 Elite Series garage door opener features a battery backup system that will let Erle’s family open the doors automatically during a power outage.  The opener uses belt drive technology, which has the quietest operation compared to chain drive openers and requires less maintenance.” 

Kim Erle is a Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design-certified project planner and founder of Sunset Green Home, a web site that provides information about living a sustainable life and building a sustainable home.

Visit to learn more about the products and green building practices Erle put to use in this unique and sustainable coastal home.

* All photos courtesy of Sunset Green Home and Coastal Management. 

To view more information about reinforced garage doors built for hurricane wind speeds, check out this website.


green garage doorsenergy efficiencyhurricane preparednessgarage door safety

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