By Frank Sherman – reposted from TerrainCD.com/Blog
In light of all the significant weather events that have happened this year, culminating in the massive destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, it is worth revisiting a report co-authored in 2011 by the University of Michigan and the U.S. Green Building Council.
The report titled: “Green Building and Climate Resilience” is an in-depth analysis of the impact of changing climate conditions and the need for more resilient design strategies in buildings and communities. In the aftermath of Sandy, I wrote about the need for resilient design. This report supports much of what forward thinking building professionals are saying; Buildings need to be more resilient to the impacts of wind, rain, fire, flooding, drought, tornadoes and severe weather events.
“World climate change experts … have indicated that the world will almost certainly experience some degree of climate change no matter how quickly greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. This makes climate adaptation necessary”.
Regardless of on which side of the climate debate you fall, based on the types and intensity of weather events we have experienced in the recent past, and are expected to experience in the future, our buildings, infrastructure and communities need to be more resilient. Our built environment needs to withstand an uncertain climate future.
“While climate has always been integrated into the building professions, our codes, standards, and practices typically assume that the future will be similar to the past. Climate change requires that we update these codes, standards, and practices with the best available knowledge.”
Adaptation takes time. We ignore the science and the warnings. We squander the precious time we have to address the causes and effects of a changing global climate. You may want to deny it, but our planet is on a trajectory that does not bode well for future generations. If we are not willing to adapt, or make how and what we build more resilient, we put our our physical and fiscal well-being in peril.Frank Sherman is an architect and green consultant based in Philadelphia PA. Frank is East Coast managing partner of Alpine Green Solutions, a national green building and energy efficiency consulting company, and maintains a design and consulting practice Terrain Consulting+Design focused on green building design and construction. Frank is a green building expert, educator with Cleanedison, and aspiring beekeeper.