Is Resilience the New Sustainability? Part 5
This comprehensive five-part article explored resilient design, or “the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and disruption of normal life” (Resilient Design Institute).
Part 1 discussed a building’s longevity, environmental factors, and the idea of cities as systems. Part 2 and Part 3 explained the ten resilient design principles provided by the Resilient Design Institute. In Part 4, we addressed some specific building concerns and the design solutions associated with them. In Part 5, our Miami construction lawyers will cover a few more critical aspects of resilient design.
Resilience is not just a term used in emergency situations. Even when a structure isn’t facing a wildfire, earthquake, hurricane, or another natural disaster, it must be resistant to the day-to-day wear that could otherwise compromise its longevity.
Furthermore, natural heating and cooling options can actually save lives in a situation wherein a building’s electrical power and mechanical HVAC have been compromised. The same design strategies typically used to make homes more energy-efficient can be used to make non-residential buildings more resilient.
Some simple methods of enhancing this area of resilience include:
- Good insulation
- Proper ventilation
- Solar shading devices
- Stack ventilation
- Precipitation and Flooding
There are myriad extreme weather-related concerns that must be kept in mind when designing and building a new structure. If a building is in a region prone to hurricanes, it must be well-sealed and possess reliable drainage solutions in any area capable of collecting water. The building’s mechanical rooms should include storm-resistant louvers to maximize air intake while blocking forceful winds and heavy rain.
Flood prevention and wind resistance are also two key aspects of building in an area with hurricane risk.
The Importance of the Building Envelope
Last but certainly not least, a building’s durability starts with the building envelope. A resilient building should have top-notch sealing and insulation. Special attention should be paid to windows, doors, and roofs. Highly insulated windows should make use of a double or triple pane, low-E seal, and/or inert gas between panes.
Resilient design and sustainability go hand in hand. While the two have a great degree of overlap, resilience is not necessarily the “new sustainability.” Sustainability focuses more on protecting the environment from human damage, whereas resilient design focuses on the inverse: protecting man-made structures from natural disasters. Resilient design also aims to protect humans from catastrophes unrelated to nature, such as terrorism and cyberterrorism. Both resilient design and sustainability are critical to our future and should be guiding principles of any construction project.