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Pushing Americans to Get Smarter About How and Where They Build

Greg Hanscom reports on efforts by FEMA and the Green Building Council to incorporate "climate resiliency" into green building certification criteria in recognition of the increasing effects of climate change.
March 19, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With the impacts of increasingly frequent severe storms already being felt across the country, and in the growing emergency response costs to government at all levels, FEMA recently joined the U.S. Green Building Council and researchers from the University of Michigan to roll out a new report [PDF] called Green Building and Climate Resilience.

With the report, which "went region-by-region to identify the risks associated with a changing climate" and the need to build for "climate resiliency," the Green Building Council, "an organization that has until now focused almost entirely on reducing our contributions to climate change, has turned its attention to the inevitable impacts of those contributions we've already made," writes Hanscom.

While some existing green strategies may help to mitigate the impacts of such threats as extreme heat events, more frequent droughts, higher-intensity hurricanes and storm surges, declining air quality, insect infestations, and more severe wildfire seasons, there is much more that can be done to prepare the built environment in our most vulnerable communities.

According to Hanscom, "It's early yet, but there may be a day when, if you want to get your house LEED certified, you'll need to prove not just that it is eco-friendly today, but that it can survive Mother Nature's worst in order to be so a few decades from now."

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Published on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 in Grist
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