Editor's Letter

01/01/2016 | By Chris Olson

Make Resilience Your New Year's Resolution

Chris Olson, Chief Content Director

As a buzzword, resilience is on the rise.

One reason is its link to climate change discussions. No matter one’s view of if or why climate change is occurring, it seems we are in a period of atypically intense storms, rising ocean levels and natural disasters that threaten buildings. Resilience is also linked to disruption in general, whatever and whenever things go wrong: power and gas outages, maintenance failures, workplace violence and shooters, hazardous materials and environmental threats. Boston and New York City are among the cities that have worked resilience into their building codes. USGBC has incorporated it into LEED standards.

Resilience is a very broad concept, less a specific target and more of an approach or set of priorities. It can be applied to many areas of existing building operations. For an uninterruptible power project you might also consider external hookups for prompt delivery of temporary power and heat. For many people in New York City after Hurricane Sandy, the prolonged power outage was a greater threat than the immediate storm damage. If developing a landscaping project, you might put a higher priority on wind- and flood-resistant trees.  A potable water project might include a means to supply drinking water if power and pumps are out. Renewable energy can be both a green project and a way to supply emergency power. HVAC upgrades might include some measures to protect equipment during disasters.  

After all, deferred resilience, like deferred maintenance, might end up having a very high cost.


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