three warmest years on record. The
same administration said that 2016’s
average temperatures were warmer
than 2017’s temperatures through July.
No matter the reason, extreme
weather disasters will happen, and
resilient buildings could help save
lives, but being prepared for the
unknown is the challenge.
Communities recently affected by
these events oftentimes focus on resiliency measures during the recovery
phase, according to Rachel Minnery,
Fellow AIA, the senior director of
sustainable development policy for the
American Institute of Architects.
Their rationale might be economic-focused to prevent the loss of so many
assets during the next weather event
or based on the hope of strengthening
the community to save lives.
On the other hand, Lstiburek said
some resiliency measures may be
propelled by concerns that are mainly
political and can sometimes drive up a
project’s cost. But other resiliency initiatives are useful in certain areas that
are prone to frequent climatic events,
or for efforts to fortify the power grid,
which he said is unreliable.
The challenges of planning for the
unpredictable are vast and sometimes
unanswerable. Are people building
resilient communities fast enough?
Are they building those communities
to be strong enough?
But the resiliency efforts will be put
to the test; it is just a matter of when.
“The proof is going to be the next big
storm,” said Landon Smith, the City of
Orange Beach’s chief building official
and floodplain administrator. •
temperatures during power outages
in the summer and winter, said Lisa
King, a senior environmental policy
planner for the City of Toronto. Well-
insulated building envelopes are
energy efficient and help keep people
comfortable during extreme weather
with no power.
The guidelines also recommend
buildings have backup power generation for a minimum of 72 hours,
allowing people to shelter in place,
she said. This helps Toronto run more
smoothly during an emergency.
“This allows emergency responders to focus on the larger problems at
hand and provides an efficient use of
City resources,” King said.
The Cost of Resiliency
No two cities are the same, and the
threats facing coastal communities
While cities have to develop per-
sonalized strategies to strengthen
their communities, not all resiliency
measures are outrageously expensive.
And rebuilding after every extreme
natural disaster can also add up.
A total of 212 weather and climate disasters since 1980 have
caused more than $1.2 trillion in
damages, the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration’s
(NOAA) National Centers for
Environmental Information reported.
As of July 7, NOAA reported nine
disaster events in America with
losses exceeding $1 billion in
2017. That statistic did not include
Hurricane Harvey. In 2016, 15
weather events caused more than $47
billion in damages and killed 138
people, according to NOAA.
Ideally, resiliency measures would
strengthen buildings and also save
lives. In practice, resiliency measures would have day-to-day benefits,
such as elevating buildings to combat storm surges creates more green
space for recreational use and adding
more insulation to help ride out a
power outage creates a more comfortable space, Unger said.
“(Resiliency is) basically an insurance policy,” he said.
That insurance policy is predicted
to be used more in the coming years.
NOAA’s July 2017 climate report
stated that 2017 could rank in the top
A light snow dusts a branch of the
Toronto Public Library system.
envelopes create more
stable indoor temperatures
during power outages in
the summer and winter.
— Lisa King, City of Toronto’s senior
environmental policy planner
HPB Magazine will continue exploring
resiliency in future editions. Send
story ideas and case studies to