By making buildings more sustainable and efficient, we can also achieve greater resilience.

The effects of climate change continue to be seen and felt, such as through increases in hurricane frequency and higher incidence of drought and heat wave. These changing conditions upend the design assumptions of our buildings and cities, putting our communities at risk, jeopardizing their livability and making populations more vulnerable.

As the effects of climate change become increasingly obvious to property owners, businesses and residents, the need for climate impact reduction strategies has become more clear. Even as the U.S. federal government’s commitment to addressing climate change remains uncertain, many cities and states have chosen to take action on their own. For example, some states now offer guidance to municipalities on resilient design, while others work to apply state-level modeling data to resilience planning at county and regional scales.

Sustainability and resilience go hand in hand

As exemplified in our new Center for Resilience, theses concerns are an extension of USGBC’s commitment to transforming the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated. By making buildings more sustainable and efficient, we can also achieve greater resilience.

USGBC rating systems like LEED, SITES and PEER each incorporate strategies in the planning, construction and operation stages that specifically address project resilience. Project teams can make educated decisions that reduce energy and water dependence, enhance ability to withstand extreme weather events and improve site selection, informed by both current conditions and anticipated effects of climate change, such as sea level rise.

LEED works to promote sustainability and efficiency for the built environment, but resilience is an end goal as well. In fact, a 2018 study by the University of Texas at San Antonio found that over 64 percent of credits from LEED v4 for New Construction contribute to increased resilience against flooding, and 63 percent of credits enhance resilience to hurricanes or typhoons. By offering credit-based solutions that are flexible yet effective, LEED inherently addresses the challenges faced by different projects in working toward greater overall resilience.

Resilience topics at Greenbuild 2018

At this year’s Greenbuild, to be held in Chicago in November, there are several opportunities to learn about why resilience is a key facet of sustainability, how to use LEED to enhance a project’s resilience, specific case studies and more. Here are a few sessions you shouldn’t miss:

Opportunities for Greater Resilience

Tues., November 13, 10:15–11:15 a.m.

Project teams will identify opportunities and methods for greater resilience. Panelists will discuss successful case studies where resilience objectives were achieved at the building and community scales, through use of LEED and the RELi rating system. RELi focuses specifically on resilience by requiring projects to assess and plan for acute hazards, prepare to mitigate against disasters and design for passive survivability.

Resilience Tales of Scale: RELi, the City and the Roof Top

Thurs., November 15, 8–10 a.m.

Participants will earn an understanding of RELi and LEED’s resiliency pilot credits, including how to use them to achieve greater resilience at all scales of the built environment. Learn about the RELi resilience framework and what happens when it’s applied in real life, as well as how a small-scale project can support a city in addressing the issues we face in response to increasing shocks and stresses.

Preparing for Your Storm: Hurricane Resiliency isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

Thurs., November 15, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

This charrette-style session looks at three case studies of hard-hit, affordable housing communities through the lenses of design and construction, emerging technologies and operational approaches. Drawing from case studies in Galveston, Texas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the session will explore best practices and lessons learned through an interactive, participatory structure with mock scenarios and design, climate, and financial assumptions.

Register for Greenbuild