resilience

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Rebuilding After the Hurricanes

A new study shows that coastal wetlands are enormously valuable in reducing damaging storm surges

Posted on Oct 19 2017 by Anonymous

By Siddarth Narayan and Michael Beck


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Image Credits:

  1. Kelly Fike / USFWS via Flickr

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Flood, Rebuild, Repeat: The Need for Flood Insurance Reform

The National Resources Defense Council takes a look at federal records on payments for ‘repetitive loss properties’ and suggests an alternative

Posted on Sep 20 2016 by Anonymous

By LUCAS EASTMAN

Can you imagine living in a property that has flooded 10 times? How about 20 times? It’s hard to fathom enduring that kind of situation, yet owners of 2,109 properties across the United States experience just that. Not only has each of these properties flooded more than 10 times, but the National Flood Insurance Program has paid to rebuild them after each flood. One home in Batchelor, Louisiana, flooded 40 times and received a total of $428,379 in flood insurance payments.


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Image Credits:

  1. Tobin / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

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Unfolding Community Resilience

Sustainable building practices aren't enough; we must learn to build resilient communities that ‘get stronger because of stress’

Posted on Mar 2 2015 by Robert Leaver

This blog was originally posted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association as part of this year's BuildingEnergy conference in Boston. Robert Leaver has over 38 years of experience as a convener and facilitator. He will speak at sessions on March 4 and again on March 5.


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Image Credits:

  1. Simon Fraser University Public Affairs via Wikimedia Commons

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Passivhaus Design in Minnesota

Is Passivhaus certification so important that it justifies building an R-80 wall?

Posted on Oct 6 2014 by Scott Gibson

As net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. and PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates.-certified houses become more commonplace, it's not at all unusual to hear of exterior walls rated at R-40 or R-50. But that's not going to be nearly good enough for Tom Schmidt, who's building a 3,800-square-foot house in Minnesota.

R-80 is more like it, and the walls need to be "cost-effective" as well as not too thick.


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Image Credits:

  1. Craig Miller Productions

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Resilience as a Driver of Change

Whether or not you believe that climate change is happening, implementing resilient design strategies will make you and your family safer — and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Posted on May 7 2014 by Alex Wilson

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilslon

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When the Gas Pipeline Shuts Down

What would happen to urban residents if utilities stopped delivering natural gas and electricity?

Posted on Mar 14 2014 by Martin Holladay

In the wake of the recent military crisis in Crimea, energy experts have been discussing whether Vladimir Putin will be tempted to gain political advantage by shutting the valves on the Russian natural gas pipelines that supply Ukraine and Western Europe. Regardless of whether this scenario is likely, such speculation raises the question: How would urban residents in a cold climate cope if the supply of natural gas were suddenly turned off?


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Martin Holladay

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It Takes a Village to Be Resilient

Surveying residents of Dummerston, Vermont, about emergency generators, wood stoves, and access to water

Posted on Aug 15 2013 by Alex Wilson

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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Defining Habitable Temperatures

If buildings lose power or heating fuel, how hot is too hot and how cold is too cold?

Posted on Jun 20 2013 by Alex Wilson

Over the past five months, the New York City Buildings Resiliency Task Force has been working to figure out how to make buildings in the City more resilient. The Task Force, which was created at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and facilitated by Urban Green, the U.S. Green Building Council Chapter in New York City, issued its recommendations on June 13, 2013.


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Image Credits:

  1. David Goodman - from the Buildings Resiliency Task Force Report
  2. Sam McAfee, sgBuild.com - from the Buildings Resiliency Task Force Report
  3. Resilient Design Institute (unpublished)

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Rebuilding in Tornado Country

Devastating storms in Oklahoma spark a discussion about the most appropriate type of construction for the region

Posted on Jun 17 2013 by Scott Gibson

Tornadoes have struck the Midwest with a vengeance this year, killing dozens of people and causing widespread destruction of property. In the city of Moore, Oklahoma, a tornado with winds topping 200 miles per hour struck on May 20, reducing whole neighborhoods to rubble.

Many homeowners will rebuild, so what should their new houses look like? In a post at GreenBuildingAdvisor's Q&A forum, David Gregory raises that question.


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Image Credits:

  1. Greg Henshall/FEMA

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What I’m Hoping for in the New Year

Among my wishes: a carbon tax, increased awareness of resilience, and more of us leaving the car at home

Posted on Jan 3 2013 by Alex Wilson

With snow gently falling as the holiday season winds down, I find myself reflecting on the New Year and what we might hope for. World peace of course, and solving the poverty conundrum would be great.

But what about energy and the environment? Here are some thoughts:


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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