In this video, learn about climate events, adaptability, and being prepared.
- The greenest building products, most efficient projects, state of the art technologies. None of this matters if a building becomes uninhabitable due to flooding, earthquake, wildfires, or some other natural or man-made disaster. With the advance of climate change and increased frequency and strength of natural disasters, resiliency is becoming increasingly important to the building industry. According to the Resilient Design Institute, resilient design is defined as the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and destruction of normal life.
Until recently, the green building industry focused on the the reduction of carbon emissions and fossil fuel use. However, this approach is to save the future, rather than to respond to what we are faced with right now, with intense climate events becoming more common around the globe. Think about the buildings you are responsible for. Can these buildings withstand damage, rapidly recover, and get back online for business when faced with a disruptive event? As a building professional, do you think you have a responsibility in the survival of communities against disasters? If your answer is yes, where should you start? Look, we can spend hours discussing this very critical topic.
My goal is to get your attention and have you start thinking about how you can increase awareness for yourself, your organization, and decision makers. Here are examples of a few things that can be incorporated in a green building strategy. Know your vulnerabilities. Conduct a hazard and climate change assessment for your project location. What destructive events is your site vulnerable to? Analyze and implement well thought out, resilient building design strategies.
For example, a robust storm water management plan. Efficient mechanical or electrical systems, that are located on higher ground, stay online during a flood. A building serving a specific role, such as an office space for employees that becomes a shelter for its community. Don't forget the importance of a comprehensive emergency preparedness program, with a great focus on stakeholder communication and awareness. While project level resilience planning is important and should be a part of new construction and existing building operations, collaboration at city level and being a part of a larger scale community resilience strategy is also critically important.
An increasing number of cities around the world, such as New York City, are now incorporating resilience into building codes and long-term plans. As a building professional, are you aware of the climate change impact in your region? Do you know the available resilience plans for the communities you serve? An insurance coverage may be the only strategy for many buildings for resilience. Raising the HVAC equipment, adding onsite renewables may not be feasible options for all buildings, but there is something that can be done for any project.
These strategies can save lives, reduce significant financial losses due to business disruption. Better be safe than sorry.
- Defining green buildings and their benefits
- Green building components and rating systems
- How LEED certification works
- BREEAM and Green Globes
- Energy Star and Zero Energy buildings
- WELL Building Standard and the Fitwel system
- Attaining green building credentials