How Resilience Will Shape the Future of Building Design

Monday, January 11, 2016 (12/29/15) Miller, Molly

Future building design will be influenced by the need for resilience in the face of hazards predicted by the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED program. In November, USGBC's steering committee for the LEED rating system approved three LEED pilot credits on resilience in design. LEED's Passive Survivability credit is geared to prepare building designs for functionality in times of emergency, requiring the design team to create a building that provides at least two of the following: livable conditions after a disaster, backup power, or access to potable water. To design for passive survivability, engineers are designing with a "habitability zone," which weighs relative humidity and other considerations that are key to human physiology, instead of designing for standard temperature measurements. Resilient Design Institute director Alex Wilson cites the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's new Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach as the best currently existing resiliency model. The center features building efficiency, a PV system, wind turbines built to tolerate hurricane-force winds, natural ventilation, daylighting, rainwater catchment, composting toilets, and recycled water. The other two LEED pilot credits are more site-oriented, with the assessment and planning for resilience credit demanding a design team to evaluate critical dangers as part of the predesign phase and complete climate resilience planning or emergency preparedness planning. The third credit, Designing for Enhanced Resilience, asks the design team to design for safety based on the three leading hazards from the first credit.

Molly Miller 1/11/2016

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