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Boston buildings

How to Improve Buildings’ Climate Change Preparedness

Boston buildingsCommercial building owners can take steps to increase their climate change resilience by evaluating crucial systems, storm-resistant structure and landscape design, backup power options, and disaster preparedness protocols for facilities staff, says a report by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC).

Building Resilience in Boston: “Best Practices” for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience for Existing Buildings aims to help property owners reduce their vulnerability to severe storms and sea level rise. It was commissioned by the GRC and the city of Boston, and developed for the BSA and the Boston Foundation for Architecture by Linnean Solutions, Built Environment Coalition and the Resilient Design Institute.

Intended to provide property owners, the architectural community and city officials — both in Boston and beyond — with a better understanding of measures they can incorporate for more durable and resilient buildings, the report includes best practices for building sites, structure, enclosure, systems, operations and occupant usage.

It also contains a review of Boston’s vulnerabilities and climate preparedness initiatives, as well as resources and efforts underway in other US and international cities and federal governments, such as New York City and Toronto. For example, post Hurricane Sandy New York City proposed an investment program to upgrade its buildings to withstand a similar storm.

California implemented major code and standard changes, requiring existing building retrofit for seismic loads after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Similarly, Florida updated its building performance requirements for hurricane loads after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The report cites a 2006 study that found each dollar invested in mitigation provides more than $4 of benefits. It says a strategy to add trees on the property to increase shading, for example, also reduces stormwater flow, lowers ambient temperatures, lessens wind impacts and improves air quality and quality of life.

The report also discusses ways in which Boston can build on its climate preparedness efforts such as convening communities at the neighborhood level to define specific vulnerabilities; developing the capacity of local organizations to create and implement effective resilience plans; expand the coordination of local, state, federal, public, and private efforts; and further leverage related local activities currently underway.

Extreme weather events, water scarcity, biodiversity loss and other global warming-related changes will increasingly affect businesses and how they operate, according to a report released last month by the United Nations Environment Programme.

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2 thoughts on “How to Improve Buildings’ Climate Change Preparedness

  1. *Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians taxing the air we breathe. Climate blame was doomed anyways because support for CO2 mitigation was unsustainable as long as science only agreed it COULD be a crisis. They have NEVER agreed it WILL be, only might be and possibly be and likely be and…..What has to happen for science to finally agree it WILL be a crisis, complete unstoppable warming?
    Science could end the debate now just by saying it is “eventual”. What denier would argue with science saying their crisis was “inevitable” and “unavoidable” just like they say comet hits are. Climate crisis “IS” a comet hit!

  2. Unfortunately mememine69, you are asking something from the science community they just cannot provide. It would be like asking them to finally confirm once and for all that the Big Bang THEORY and the THEORY of Gravity is categorically true. Its not possible. Scientists everywhere would be obliged to point out the many holes or parts of the theories we don’t fully understand. Its how science works.
    Should they be to blame if the corporate and finance sector cannot adequately turn the current knowledge into a risk scenario and shift accordingly. This is the problem with a market based economy. It cannot respond to knowledge only money. Only regulation can respond to knowledge to adjust accordingly.
    To use a metaphor for the fossil fuel industry as the ‘Goose that lays the golden eggs’, the finance sector is too greedy to stop selling off the golden eggs and taking the risk of killing off the original goose because it is old and tired, and perhaps nurturing a new egg into a new goose (renewable energy), all the while forgetting the old goose must die at some stage anyway.
    Its classic short-sighted greed and the science community should not be blamed if the corporate sector wants to ignore the loudest alarms the science community is able to raise.
    If money were taken out of the equation, the current warnings should be enough for any rational person, but as usual, some greedy person always has to say, just a little more, just a little longer.

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