Passive survivability

Resilience as a Driver of Change

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in climate change

Readers of this column have heard me argue in the past that resilience can be a motivation for taking actions that will not only make us and our families safer, but also help to mitigate climate change. Let me lay out that basic argument again.

It Takes a Village to Be Resilient

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in Passive survivability

The Dummerston Energy Committee, on which I serve in my home town, is conducting an energy survey. Partly, we are conducting this survey to understand how our town uses energy — both in our homes and in our vehicles. We have a goal in Dummerston, articulated in our Town Plan, to reduce nonrenewable energy consumption 40% by 2030, and we’re trying to establish a baseline from which to measure our success in achieving that long-term target. But we’re also conducting this survey for another reason that may be more important: to gauge how resilient our town is.

Gas Lines Point to a Need for Resilience

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in Passive survivability

By now we’ve all seen the photos of houses buried in sand along the Jersey Shore, burned-out homes in Queens, and submerged subway stations in Manhattan. Those spectacular images were in the first wave of news from Superstorm Sandy last week.

Designing Homes and Communities That Can Survive a Disaster

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in disaster planning

Some 27 years ago, following a five-year stint as director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (which was then based in Brattleboro), I launched my own company focusing on information about environmentally responsible design and construction.

Designing Houses and Communities To Be Smarter and More Resilient

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in flood

As we look to create homes and communities that will keep us comfortable and safe in a world of climate change, terrorism, and other vulnerabilities, there are a handful of strategies that I group loosely under the heading of "smarter design." Some of these strategies come into play more at the land-use planning scale, or are relevant only in certain locations that are at risk of flooding, but all are worth thinking about when planning a new home. Where we build

Resilience: Designing Homes for More Intense Storms

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in climate change

Anyone who was in Vermont in late August of this year and witnessed the raging floodwaters from tropical storm Irene gained an intimate view of the vulnerabilities we face from intense storms and flooding. Hundreds of miles of roadway were heavily damaged, dozens of bridges washed away, and some communities were cut off for weeks.

Building Resilience for a ‘Close Encounter’ with Disaster

Posted on April 27,2015 by Tristan Roberts in Passive survivability

Sometimes being a practical person isn’t that fun. Last night my wife and I were watching the classic 1977 movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Leading up to the climactic scene, the protagonists are racing to the location where they expect aliens to appear, while outrunning the U.S. Army and the United Nations. To do this, they must escape the authorities and their cattle cars, drive a station wagon off-road through Wyoming, and spend several hours scrambling up the dry, rocky landscape around Devil’s Tower.

Green Building Priority #9 – Create Resilient Houses

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in Passive survivability

Climate change is underway, and some of the impacts of that change will affect our homes. We need to account for that in the design, construction, and remodeling of our homes.

Passive Hot Air from Everyday Materials

Posted on April 27,2015 by Mike_Maines in Heat recovery ventilators

At the Unity, Maine, headquarters of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), engineer Jay LeGore has harnessed the power of the sun to replace about 200 gallons of propane a year.

Making Houses Resilient to Power Outages

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in Passive survivability

The ice storm a week-and-a-half ago illustrated, all too clearly, the vulnerability of our homes. Hundreds of thousands of homes in New England lost power in the storm, which deposited up to an inch of ice on trees the night of December 11th, and tens of thousands were still without power a full week later, despite heroic efforts by utility crews. This illustrates why all houses should be designed and built to achieve “passive survivability,” an idea that, nationally, I’ve been advancing for the past three years.

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