4 reasons resiliency is the new sustainability

Best Practices ESG Industry News Sustainability Reporting
  • July 9, 2018 | Helee Lev
4 reasons resiliency is the new sustainability

4 reasons resiliency is the new sustainability

When it comes to worst-case disasters and even everyday wear and tear, a building’s sustainability is important, but its resiliency is non-negotiable. Resiliency takes sustainability to the next level simply because in order for a property to truly be sustainable at its core, it must be resilient. Whether a tornado strikes, a hurricane brings massive flooding, or a fire blazes through the area, buildings should be designed to withstand these disasters, along with the everyday movement within the building. Let’s take a look at four reasons resilience is more than a buzzword and is rightly the new sustainability and why you should start crafting your business case for implementing it.

1. Earthquake damage can be avoided

A lot of the damage caused to buildings by earthquakes is the result of poorly constructed buildings. In new and modern buildings, there are new technologies that allow buildings to withstand severe seismic activity. Base isolation is an example of this new technology which involves decoupling the base of a building from the rest of the structure so that only the base will move during an earthquake. This good seismic design helps a building remain resilient and not just sustainable.

2. Resiliency is vital to combat climate change affecting infrastructure

Climate change is bringing higher sea levels and more natural disasters which challenges the healthy infrastructure of a building. Hurricanes and flooding require special attention in design regarding severe wind, heavy precipitation, and ground-level flooding. Buildings in hurricane-prone areas need to be well-sealed and have adequate drainage solutions for basements, terraces, and any other areas that can collect water. This will help a building maintain resiliency as seen in recent disaster Hurricane Harvey in Houston – the same storm struck hundreds of buildings in the city without mercy, but it’s no coincidence that some stood stronger than others.

3. Blackouts and outages happen… often

Power outages and blackouts happen more often than one may think. Many commercial building designers and developers are now helping buildings maintain resiliency by implementing a backup power supply on a higher floor, maintaining off-the-grid heating and cooling capabilities and having airtight building ventilation and ensuring that natural ventilation is available when air conditioning is not. In order for a building to be resilient, it must be able to bounce back quickly during outages. In most extreme cases, some buildings have gone completely “off the grid” with renewables and do not rely on conventional utilizes to provide power to their facility at all.

4. True resiliency also involves targeting normal wear and tear

The average building has a lifespan of around 73 years and over the course of these 73 years, the building will experience millions of people moving in and out of the property. Resilient buildings must be able to withstand both natural disasters and consistent use. To implement resiliency into a building, designers must build in everyday durability with tight building envelope and long-lasting, low-maintenance interior design finishes. The building envelope must include tight seals for windows, etc. in order to keep moisture out. Designers will use more durable materials for doors, flooring and walls that can withstand high amounts of traffic. An example of this would be installing interior guards like handrails and crash rails. A timeless design is also more sustainable as it requires fewer upgrades and less maintenance throughout the lifetime of the building strictly for aesthetic appeal.

Resiliency IS the new sustainability.

Everything from hurricanes to high traffic movement within a building can threaten the health of an infrastructure. The thought and design processes that go into establishing a building’s resiliency must surpass the simple things that just make it sustainable.

Helee Lev

Helee joined Goby in 2012, overseeing strategic account management, new business, and industry alliances. In 2015, she participated in raising $5M of venture capital funding for Goby. As CRO she leads sales, business development, and Goby's strategic consulting group.

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