With world leaders convening for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, a new report by the U.N. cautions that climate change is accelerating. As related conditions such as a rise in sea levels, a decline in Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets and intensifying tropical storms continue to be reported across the globe, the effects of climate change have also become more visible to Americans back home. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the average global temperature from 2015 through 2019 is on track to become the warmest of any four-year period on record.
As USGBC has testified, the building sector can not only play a role in addressing the causes of climate change, but it can also help communities adapt, according to the most recent report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC report recommends focusing on green infrastructure, appropriate land use and resilient building systems—taking measures that not only have the power to reduce environmental impact, but also to support adaptation of building infrastructure for the changing world.
USGBC works to incorporate strategies for enhanced resilience into our various rating systems. In particular, LEED certification provides building teams with a blueprint for amplifying sustainability, efficiency and resilience in building projects. Projects that import fewer resources, emit less carbon and improve the quality of life for occupants are more resilient by design. For more on USGBC and resilience, check out our Center for Resilience.
Greenbuild 2019, to be held Nov. 19–22 in Atlanta, Georgia, offers numerous opportunities to take a deeper dive into how resilience and sustainability are interconnected, how resilience affects equity and what you can do to strengthen the resilience of your own project portfolio.
Resilience sessions at Greenbuild 2019
Here is a sampling of opportunities to learn about resilience:
Tuesday, Nov. 19 (all day)
Elevating equity is the landmark strategy in building resilience within the lives of people, their communities and their infrastructure. This year, USGBC is focusing one of its Tuesday summits on resilience, with a focus on social equity in the built environment.
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 10–11 a.m. (part of the Resilience Summit)
Participants will use a modeling tool derived from machine learning to explore the benefits of green building design on public health. Green buildings use less energy and contribute less to total greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn, leads to cleaner air and a more healthy community. Join the discussion to learn about specific mechanisms to achieve clean energy in buildings for a greater community benefit.
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. (part of the Resilience Summit)
Learn about new tools to identify adaptive challenges and apply resilience strategies to replace the “zombie” systems of the status quo. The panel will lead a wide-ranging discussion on climate change and on structural racism in major urban areas like Atlanta and Chicago. Participants will learn to use the principles of adaptive management, including a rejection of the idea of a single “solution” to upheaval at all levels.
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Climate gentrification occurs when negative environmental impacts meet sociocultural pressure, and cities experience this more frequently as urban areas continue to grow. As distressed neighborhoods are revived through an influx of economic support, longtime residents are often victims of displacement. This session will explore how climate gentrification affects communities, as well as how Community Land Trusts can support equity and sustainability goals.
Thursday, Nov. 21, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
In this interactive session, presenters will invite participants to solve adaptation challenges for a mixed-use project in a coastal area. Speakers will give the audience a variety of choices in which to reduce vulnerability of the project to high winds, flooding, infrastructure failure and more. Join this session to explore the effectiveness of different approaches to enhance resilience.
Friday, Nov. 22, 8–9 a.m.
Session participants will learn how three critical elements of sustainable buildings—energy efficiency, resilience, and health and wellness—can be integrated to reach quantifiable benefits, along with achieving outcomes that can be difficult to measure. The green building frameworks LEED, WELL, and RELi will be examined for complementary strategies to reach higher performance, greater resilience and more wellness-oriented designs.